Why You Should Foam Roll

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling or Self-myofacial release is a soft tissue therapy that focuses on the fascia. (Fascia- a thin piece of fibrous tissue that encloses a muscle or other organ). When you massage it, you are not only improving range of motion, but you begin to increase circulations and boost muscle tissue integrity.

In the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, a recent study found that foam rolling, paired with stretching, could increase range of motion in the hip more than stretching alone. Utilizing stretching alone is not always enough to release muscles tightness. Imagine a bungee cord with a knot tied into it and then envision stretching the cord. This creates tension, stretching the unknotted portion of the muscle and the attachment points. The knot, however, has remained unchanged. Foam rolling can assist in breaking up these "muscle knots", resuming normal blood flow and function.

 

Where should I roll?

Any muscle that is short or tight such as the calves, quadriceps, adductors, latissimus dorsi, and the pectorals. Keep in mind that these vary from person to person. A quick assessment, such as the overhead squat can help identify which muscles should be tended to.

 

Where should I avoid?

Avoid organs, and use caution around vessels and nerves. If you feel shooting pain or tingling, reposition the roller and try a softer one. For a more aggressive approach you can use a lacrosse ball.

 

Tips:

  1. 1. Move slowly, when you feel a knot, pause for about 30-60 seconds to let it begin to release.

  2. 2. Move in different directions- foam rolling doesn't always have to be up and down. Try moving side to side occasionally.

  3. 3. If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, apply pressure on the surrounding area and slowly work to loosen the entire area.




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