The Benefits of Foam Rolling
The majority of people suffer from tightness, soreness, stiffness, and overall “crunchiness.” Over time, the knots build up, and the body’s compensations get more and more severe- which can reduce functionality, quality/consistency of working out, flexibility, mobility, and can increase pain, suffering, and soreness.
Simple benefits of foam rolling
However, you can break this cycle with foam rolling!
A lot of folks focus solely on the workout and not about self-care. Well, I am here to tell you that consistently practicing stretching, foam rolling, and other self-care practices will not only improve your workouts, but also your quality of life.
Why Foam Roll?
When we workout, run errands, drive, work at a desk, etc. we engage our muscles. We often sit for long periods of time without moving, which can add unwanted tightness to the body as well.
In short, we are contracting and engaging various muscle groups all day long.
With this being said, it’s important to bring the body back into equilibrium and elongate the fascia once more.
Think of foam rolling as a self-massager. It helps to get rid of painful knots, adhesions, etc, and leaves the body feeling lighter with increased function and mobility – which allows us to perform at our highest level more consistently.
How Does Foam Rolling Do This?
Like mentioned previously, foam rolling is essentially a self-massager that can be used to ease uncomfortability in the body.
It does this by following the principle “ tension to release tension.” In short, by pressing on the tight area, the knots will break up/dissipate.
The Proper Way To Foam Roll
You can foam roll nearly every area of the body- back, quads, glutes, hamstrings,triceps, chest, etc. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have specific questions about foam rolling practices. (my email is listed below in my bio).
Simply place the foam roller on the desired body part. Roll through that muscle until you find a sore spot that rates about 6/7 on the sore scale (10 being the most sore; 1 being not sore at all).
Once you’ve found your sore spot, hold the foam roller on that area for 30 seconds. Repeat this 2-3 times for each sore body part. If time does not allow for all sore muscles to be foam rolled, simply pick the tightest/sorest muscles.
If a particular spot is super sore, you can hold for less than 30 seconds if the pain from the foam roller becomes unbearable.
Furthermore, foam rolling should never produce actual pain or strain. If you experience sharp pain, stop foam rolling, and potentially contact your doctor (depending on the pain, frequency of pain, and your medical history).
However, foam rolling is not supposed to be comfortable. After all, you are pressing on a tight/sore area. But again, it’s not supposed to produce any kind of searing pain.
Best Times To Foam Roll
Honestly, there is never a bad time to foam roll (unless you are driving). If possible, I would recommend foam rolling when you first wake up and before you go to bed at the very least.
Before and after working out is a good idea too.
If you add 10-15 minutes of foam rolling into your daily routine, I guarantee you will feel better within a few weeks of foam rolling religiously.
You will most likely notice that you perform better during workouts too.
For example, I have worked with many individuals that upon foam rolling for the very first time can squat two inches deeper after foam rolling their quads and hamstrings for five minutes.
Other Self-Care Practices
Foam rolling is an amazing tool, but there are also many other tools in the same family. For example, a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or softball can be used to roll out the bottom of the feet, calves, glutes, neck, etc.
It’s best to follow the 30 second hold practice discussed earlier in this article when using these objects.
For the neck, back, and glutes, I recommend putting the ball on a wall and rolling with the object standing upright.
Furthermore, a theracane is also a great self-care modality. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, it’s essentially a shepherd’s-crook-looking plastic object that has many little round knobs on it that can be used to release tension in the body. These are available on Amazon for about 20 bucks. Again, the same holding principles apply.
Theracanes and small sports balls provide more localized relief and can more easily attend to smaller areas of the body.
Epsom salt products can also be used to reduce muscle soreness. I highly recommend finding a lavender and Epsom salt bath bomb or rub. Eucalyptus Epsom salts can be very calming too.
Lastly, I am a huge proponent of acupuncture and trigger point massages. It’s great to do as much as you can for yourself at home, but sometimes it’s beneficial to go to a trained professional.
Thank you for taking the time to learn how to better take care of yourself and your muscles with the benefits of foam rolling. Please feel free to reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any comments or questions you might have.
As always thanks for reading and stay tuned!