I remember the first time I saw someone using a foam roller in an athletic training room. It was a weird idea to think you are in a way giving your own muscles a massage. As I got familiar with using a foam roller I realized how I had dreaded using it but they definitely serve their purpose!
Foam rolling is one of the most effective ways of recovery and preventing injuries. “Self-myofascial release” is the big term used to describe foam rolling, SMR is a form of massaging deep in the muscles by dragging force in your soft tissues. It is important to foam roll specifically in areas that are feeling tender, sore or tight. When using a foam roller you should roll over each muscle group until the tender area is found then maintain pressure on the tender area for 30-60 seconds.
Benefits of foam rolling include:
- Increased blood flow throughout the body: this helps deliver oxygen to your muscles during a workout
- Helps reduce muscle tension: especially after hard workouts; you are in control of how much pressure you are giving to areas in extra need.
- Increased range of motion: foam rolling can help stretch out and lengthen muscles
- Decreased recovery time: foam rolling helps your muscles repair, leaving you less sore than if you hadn’t foam rolled.
So if you haven’t started using foam rollers yet, it’s not too late to start! After your next workout grab a foam roller, roll out your tender spots and notice the difference.