A foam roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment used as a form of myofascial release. Foam rolling is simple and can be done at home or in a gym. Used by trainers and athletes alike, foam rolling can be beneficial to pretty much anyone who takes the time to do it properly.
The purpose of a foam roller is to target different body parts while helping to improve workouts. Whether it is a tense area where you are experiencing pain or just a muscle group you want to decompress, foam rolling can significantly improve your condition over time.
Additionally, foam rolling is a form myofascial release. Simply put, this term refers to the act of applying low-intensity force to soft tissues over long periods of time. Applying this pressure helps to alleviate tension and restore the body, resulting in improved performance. The following are some of the benefits of regular foam rolling:
- Improve circulation: foam rolling stretches and loosens muscles which breaks up tight areas where blood flow may be limited. Increased blood flow and better circulation offer a myriads of benefits for overall health and wellness.
- Increase range of motion: having properly stretch muscles leads to better range of motion, improving the quality of your workout. This leads into the next benefit, reducing chances of injury.
- Prevents injury: when you break down fascia and muscles are properly stretched, you improve range of motion and reduce the likelihood of injuries from torn or pulled muscles. Foam rolling improves your body’s coordination, and in turn, the effectiveness of your workout.
- Reduce stress: foam rolling is a form of self-massage which helps to reduce tension in targeted areas of the body, leading to a reduction of both physical and mental stress. Foam rolling helps to reduce levels of cortisol, which are necessary following a strenuous workout.
- Reduces recovery time: lactid acid is the buildup of waste in the muscles following a workout. Post-workout foam rolling can help to improve circulation and bring fresh blood to the fatigued muscles where lactic acid is present and decrease both soreness and recovery time. The quicker the muscles recover, the quicker they can rebuild and become stronger.
- Saves money: the cost of getting professional massages on a regular basis can quickly add up. For under $50, you can purchase a foam roller and enjoy long term benefits with regular use.
Things to avoid:
- Rolling too fast: give your muscles time to adapt to the force and release tension.
- Rolling directly on painful areas: it’s best to roll in the surrounding areas and then use larger motion to roll over painful areas.
- Focusing on knots for too long: rather than holding pressure on a knot for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, try adding pressure for 20 seconds or so.
- Not focusing on posture: make sure you are using correct posture in order to avoid pain and injury.
Foam rolling is an inexpensive way to improve circulation, flexibility, recovery time and reduce tension in the muscles. This simple technique can greatly improve performance and physique and, can be done in the comfort of your home, and will result in long-term benefits.