..and how do I use it?
“Myofascial release”- basically a slow, gentle massage technique is used to relax the muscle fascia and help to break up tight muscle fibers.
Foam rolling is a self-induced myofascial release form that you can do yourself without any massage cream or lotion. You don’t need to be a seasoned athlete or medical professional to alleviate muscle tension and help your muscles feel better!
I started foam rolling and practicing self massage on my body during high school when I was an athlete and still continue to do it all the time as a post collegiate Runner.
You can use a foam roller, “stick”(rolling sticks/you can buy at running stores, Academy, or most sports stores and maybe even Wal Mart) or various sports balls like baseballs, lacrosse balls, golf balls(I’ll devote another post just for IP!). Most gyms have them sitting near the stretch mats or core area.
Foam rolling is meant to be done to only point of tightness or until you feel a little release after, not PAIN! You will feel it when you hit a knot or trigger point on one of your muscles when rolling. This helps the blood flow throughout your body and crunches all the sore tissues.
I normally start sitting on my butt, roll my calves first,then my hamstrings and glutes..then my most favorite release- my back!!
After that, I turn over on my stomach and make sure to get my quads really good since those are pretty much always sore from training.
(A few areas people generally neglect doing that I do-gently roll my shins and feet/ankles on the foam roller).
Also, one of the most common “tight” spots on the body is your IT ban/iliotibial band that causes tension all the way from your hips down the side of your leg to your knee. I’ve had IT ban issues before, especially during track season as we go round and round the same turn.
It’s important to take care of these little aches because they can cause radiating pain and that can build soreness on top of already sore muscles everyday without relief.
Adjustments to foam rolling
Foam rolling does kind of hurt or feel hard to do when you start if you’ve never even heard of a foam roller! LOL.
My dad hates foam rolling. I always ask him how his runs went and when he tells me certain aches and pains I always ask-“did you foam roll?” NO. Always the answer I get.
Believe me, it feels amazing after a long day of work sitting or standing or after a tough and taxing workout.
Even if you’re not a hard core athlete or don’t work out every day, foam rolling can still greatly benefit you and help you feel more relaxed and less stiff in daily life.
Most people don’t want to do foam rolling not just because it’s uncomfortable at first but because it takes too much time.
Yes- foam rolling requires moderate discomfort, patience and a little time.
No- it doesn’t take longer than 5-10 min at least and does help your muscle recovery!!
You can foam roll longer if you want to focus on something that’s bothering you with a certain trigger point or you just want to relax and roll slow. And you can pretty much foam roll any part of your body that needs the relief, even your arms!