If muscles are not taken care of properly we can experience loss of flexibilty, adhesions and painful movement. This in turn will have a detrimental effect on our fitness and physical well being.
Stretching alone is not always enough to release tight muscles. Imagine stretching a bungee cord with a knot in it. The unknotted parts of the cord stretch whilst the knotted part remains unaltered.
Foam rolling can break up or relax tight muscles and adhesions (knots) formed between muscle layers and their surrondings. This can lead to the return of normal blood flow and better muscle function.
One study into the benefits of foam rolling concluded that using a roller not only increased the range of movement of the muscles as much as static stretching, but also improved the isometric strength and jumping ability more than static stretching.
How Do You Use a Foam Roller?
• Having identified a muscle or muscle group that requires treatment apply pressure to that area using the foam roller and your body weight.
• Roll no more than one inch per second and when you find an area that is tight or painful pause on that area for a few seconds and relax as much as possible. You must ensure that you roll the entire length of the muscle. The muscle will slowly release and after 5 to 30 seconds the discomfort or pain should reduce.
• This is not a test for how much pain you can take so do not push to the point of excessive soreness.
• Roll the muscle 3 to 4 times during each session.
• If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure then work on the surrounding areas and gradually work to loosen the entire area.
How Will You Feel After Foam Rolling?
Expect to feel a bit sore the day after a foam rolling session. This is normal and there is no need for concern. Just as you should following a normal sports massage it is important to rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. Allow between 24 and 48 hours before foam rolling the same muscle again.
• Use a foam roller on your lower back. This area of the body is more vulnerable than your upper back and could end up increasing rather than alleviating your back pain.
• Roll over joints including the knees. This could result in damage to the bony attachments.
• Use a foam roller on your neck. You should refer any neck issues to an appropriately trained health care professional as this area can be more sensitive.
• Roll a fresh injury. Allow 48 hours to pass enable the acute phase of injury repair to occur. Any foam rolling during this phase is likely to cause further damage and increase the recovery time.
Using a Roller to Massage a Calf
Using a Roller to Massage a Calf Adding Extra Pressure Using Another Leg
Using a Roller to Massage the Upper Back