Foam rolling is now one of the newest tools you can use for stretching and conditioning your muscles.
Foam rollers are inexpensive, are durable and easy to use.
The way they work is through self-myofascial release: the pressure experienced by applying your body weight to a muscle group while moving over a roller eases restriction of the connective tissue (fascia) that lives between your skin and your muscles, bones, tendons, and cartilage.
You perform this massage by yourself but it feel as if a massage therapist were doing it for you. You can change the amount of pressure that you want on each area, but be careful as it can hurt.
Foam Rollers are Potent Tools for Self-Therapy.
Used in conjunction with vigorous exercise, foam rollers are an effective stretching aid that can result in becoming less sore after a workout. They can also help increase range of motion in your joints in a non-intrusive way. And more importantly, they help reduce muscle knots, which can lead to injuries if not taken care of early on.
In addition, you can also use foam rollers as a warm up before starting a workout to prevent injury. It helps loosen muscles and fascia by alleviating stiffness.
Technique is Important–Don’t Rush it!
You won’t get the full benefits from performing this, which is basically waiting your time and you can also injury yourself. Make sure to take your time and slowly perform the warm up. The longer you take the better benefits you’ll get out of it.
Here are a few foam rolling moves that will help you get the most from it:
1. Gluteal Muscles (“Glutes”)
Sit on the roller and cross your left leg over your right. Lean slightly to the left, so the pressure of the roller hits the meaty part of your butt (gluteus maximus), and roll forward and back. Do this several times for thirty seconds up to two minutes (depending on your experience and comfort level), then switch legs.
2. Iliotibial (“IT”) Band
Balancing on one side, using one hand to help you and your opposite side. To increase more pressure place one leg on top of the other and switch legs.
3. Quadriceps (“Quads”)
Lie face down with the roller starting under your hips and crawl forward and backward with your arms to move (slowly!) from hip to knee.
Make sure that you drink water before and after stretching; when fascia is stretched, toxins are released and you want to purge them from your body.
No replacement for Hands-on Healing
No tool works as well as human touch. A certified massage therapist can ascertain the sources of restriction and pain and work in a holistic way to release fascia and muscular trigger points. Many healthcare plans include reimbursement for massage therapy and it is definitely worth the time to permanently relieve pain and gain mobility.
For now, if you’re looking for an inexpensive and effective way to take care of your pain, start by using a foam roller.