To Roll or Not to Roll? Foam Rolling

Foamrollers

 

 

Are you using a foam roller? If not, hopefully this post will encourage you to give it a try. Last year when I started a weight training program, my trainer introduced me to foam rolling. I only knew what I heard about if from runners in my circle, but I had not seen it done, nor did I understand the benefits. He went through a lengthy explanation and demonstration. I never understood the saying ‘it hurts so good’ until I gave it a try. Each day when I came into the gym, we were to spend 15 minutes warming up, with foam rolling included. If you are not familiar with it, the foam roller is a cylinder tube used in a way to give deep tissue massage to your muscles, known as self- myofascial release. The muscles are rolled back and forth over the roller 10-15 times. While it can be used in many ways such as relieving chronic pain and rehabilitation, I primarily was trained to use it in a preventative way. I was not walking around with pain in my quads or hamstrings, but when I was foam rolling, I found my ‘hot spots’ or trigger points that would hurt when the pressure was applied from the roller. After allowing the pressure to remain isolated to the hot spot, the pain eventually would subside, breaking up/releasing the ‘knot’ in the muscle. With regular use, the hot spots became fewer and my muscles had increased flexibility. This was incredibly important for me as my calves, hamstrings and quadriceps were often tight and needed the extra attention.  The foam rolling was especially helpful in the days post workout, keeping muscle soreness to a minimum. While I continue to foam roll as part of my overall fitness program, I have also had times I used it to help relieve  pain from minor muscle injuries.   I had the benefit of having someone teach me how to foam roll, which was important so I did not injure myself. In preparing this post, I did a search and there are many videos and articles with the ‘how tos’ on the foam roller, lacrosse ball and massage balls. Watch a few, consult with your trainer on how best to work it into your fitness program. There are dos and don’ts so please educate yourself before trying it..  You can find foam rollers at most quality sporting good stores and Amazon. They are a variety of types and sizes an will run you about $20.   Go ahead and show those muscles some love. After all, you work them so hard whether it be at boot camp, weight training, running or in every day life.

Check out these links for more information on foam rolling:  ACE Fitness  and Runners World.

Do you have a regular foam rolling routine? Please leave a comment and share your experience.

-JA

 

Jennifer Alameda is a working wife and mother with a passion for fitness.

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