Do you really know how to foam roll for the most benefit? There are three things I see every day in the gym that don’t necessarily help you, and some are even pointless.
First, let’s talk about the benefit of foam rolling.
When you exercise, small tears and swelling happen within the fiber of the muscle. It’s a positive thing because this whole process is actually what helps create strength, more definition and all the good stuff that we want from working out. The negative is that if you’re not actively recovering and stretching after the workout your body isn’t able to heal from these small tears and sometimes this can create impingement’s on nerves and vessels. Over time, with no active recovery, scar tissue can develop and injury happens.
Foam rolling is a way to actively recover, helping smooth out these obstructions and bring water to the muscles to help with swelling and overall blood flow. In short, when you foam roll you feel better and less sore, but you have to take the time to do it!
Three Don’ts of Foam Rolling:
- Rolling too quickly. For example, if you are foam rolling your quad muscles (front of leg) and you go quickly up and down without stopping on any of the tender spots, you aren’t actually helping the tissue that feels sore. You have to roll until you find a tender spot and then sit there for 30 seconds to a minute (depending on how tender it is). So in a lot of ways it’s not so much about rolling as it is sitting; You need to roll until you find that tender spot.
- Using it ONLY after your workout. Using the foam roller to help warm-up is a great way to get the blood flowing through the body which is going to help you be more limber during your workout.
- Rolling one way, only. In order for you to get the most benefit of your rolling you have to role in multiple directions. Basically you need to think North, South, East, West and everywhere in between!
Below are some areas of the body that are prone to being tight and may need some extra loving. If you make this a part of your recovery after every workout I guarantee you would feel a little better and you will see more mobility through your entire kinetic chain!
Feet: It feels good to roll back and forth along the entire foot.
Glutes and Piriformis: Roll until you find the spot and then just sit! Thirty seconds to 1 minute.
Thoracic Spine: For this move I often like to just lie across the roller. It helps open up the chest and if I focus on deep breathes in and out I can feel my spine relaxing and releasing tension.
I have one of the spiky foam rollers that I travel with, it’s a great tool, but I will say sometimes it can make your face do this!
Now, go ROCK YOUR ROLL like a rock star! (I made that up myself!)