Why You Should Use a Foam Roller
Why you should use a foam roller?
One of the biggest mistakes people make in fitness isn’t the exercises they are doing, but the exercises they aren’t doing. When people enter the gym the first thing they do is head to the cardio machines for a 5 minute warm up, they follow that with some weights and then it’s quitting time. However the single most important thing missing in almost every training program is flexibility training.
Flexibility training is important because having tight muscles means that we’re not working out effectively as we aren’t moving the muscles through their full range of movement. Not only that but by omitting flexibility from our training program we could actually be setting ourselves up for a potential injury.
Muscles work in pairs. One muscle shortens while the opposing muscle lengthens. When this balance gets out of whack and one muscle is tight that’s when we experience pain, tension, and limited range of motion. To combat this, a great addition to every workout should be self myofascial release which is a fancy name for self-massage. We do this with a foam roller to release muscle tension.
With any training program comes soreness but sometimes that soreness isn’t due to muscle fatigue but the muscle tissue becoming tight, which can cause pain. The aim of foam rolling is to find the muscle tension or ‘knots’ that form in the muscle tissue and release the muscle back to normal length.
How to foam roll
- First roll away any tension, think of this as the warm up or primer to the actual release. You should do this for around 30 seconds.
- During this time you should get an idea of how that muscle is feeling and become aware of any spots of tension. Maybe it’s pain in a particular area of the muscle or even a noticeable ‘bump’ as you roll indicating an underlying knot.
- If you find a point of tension then maneuver the foam roller on that spot and hold it for 30 seconds. Yes, it will hurt, but it will get better. A little pain now is better than a lot of pain or injury later.
- Repeat with the muscles appropriate to your training program.
The great thing about foam rolling is, unlike a massage, you get to control the pressure. If it feels too much just relieve some of the pressure by adjusting your position. Conversely if it doesn’t feel intense enough add some pressure by adjusting position or moving onto a more advanced type of foam roller.