What was once a misunderstood stretching technique has gained mass acceptance in the fitness community. Foam rolling or self-myofascial release is a technique that uses a form roller to administer a self-massage in areas where muscular tightness or pain is being experienced.
Fascia in medicine, refers to the soft portion of the connective tissue that conveys support. It can become restricted if overused or injured leading to inflammation and pain. Basically the foam roller is rolled under each muscle group (typically long muscles such as the latissimus dorsi or the quadriceps femoris) until a tender point is reached. The stance is maintained at this point for no more than 60 seconds. Releasing the pressure should lead to an alleviation of pain and stiffness.
A Cheaper Massage
As it lends the same benefits as a full on professional massage, foam rolling is sometimes advertised as the cheaper option. Because you wield control over how long and how much pressure is applied to any point, it is easy to see why foam rolling is gaining wider appreciation.
Releasing the trigger points is supposed to help you restore proper patterns of movement and alleviate pain.
For a bodybuilder though, the benefits conveyed go further than this. Foam rolling helps improve circulation, increase blood flow to the muscles, and counter muscle immobility. It also helps increase the range of motion, flexibility, and lessens arterial stiffness meaning the supply to your muscles is less inhibited.
There is not much research on foam rolling as a technique, but its alleged benefits have been studied. One such study discovered that using a foam roller on your hamstrings increases the range of motion almost immediately. This and other few related studies have added some scientific credence to foam rolling, further underlining its importance.
Foam Rolling As a Daily Fitness Tool
The advantages of foam rolling are far too important for a bodybuilder to be sidelined as only an occasional fitness tool. Sure, it is easy to reach for the foam roller when you want to alleviate some of that delayed onset muscle soreness, but you lose out when you are apathetic with this technique. If you do it daily, such as for your warm-ups and cool downs, you will record a noticeable increase in performance, and more successfully avert injury.
How to Use a Foam Roller?
The technique is easy to execute:
- Simply place the roller on flat ground, and rest a specific muscle group on it.
- Gradually roll until you come to an area that feels tight or painful.
- Pause for a few seconds then relax.
- You should feel the tightness or tension start to dissipate.
There are many resources online that offer more detailed guides on how to use the technique with different muscle groups, if you care to look. Ensure you start with a soft padded foam roller when you are getting initiated, before moving on to the harder ones as they can be uncomfortable for a beginner. Next-day soreness is to be expected. It shows that your muscles have been worked. Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep should help.
Buy your foam roller online.
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