Benefits of Foam Rolling
Benefits Of Foam Rolling At Home
What is foam rolling, and how does it work?
Foam rolling is the act of taking a “Foam Roller” (a cylindrical tube of compressed foam) and rolling it under your body. These tubes come in a variety of different sizes, textures, colors, and ranges of firmness. By rolling the foam roller under you, it’s similar to giving yourself a massage, acting as a form of self-myofascial release. Myofascial release is a form of therapy that can be useful for treating skeletal muscle immobility and pain by improving blood circulation, relaxing contracted muscles, and stimulating the stretch reflex.
Why is foam rolling good for you?
Foam rolling can be extremely beneficial during prehab and rehab as it helps to reduce muscle tension and tension in the body, helps with recovery, helps with mobility, helps with muscle pain, and can also improve blood circulation. All of these benefits of foam rolling can help with injury prevention and even supporting any current injuries. The pressure of the foam roller on the muscle acts as a massager, releasing the tissue-layers in the body and potentially helping to lengthen the tense muscles.
Is it better to foam roll before or after a workout?
It is recommended to do foam roller exercises both before and after a workout, since before a workout can provide the most blood flow benefits and tension relief. In addition, before a workout can decrease muscle density which can be a great warm-up. After a workout, foam rolling can help with speeding up muscle recovery and preventing delayed onset muscle soreness. Foam rolling immediately after can help your body go into the recovery state.
How long should you foam roll? Should you do it every day?
Each body is different; whether you’re preparing for surgery or looking into foam rolling for fitness, it is recommended that you first speak with a physical therapist to get expert advice on the frequency best for your condition. But most active individuals could benefit from doing foam rolling exercise for short periods of time every day, from five to twenty minutes. Or you could go for longer, doing a roller massage every other day.
Can you foam roll too much?
There are many disagreements between professionals about foam rolling too much. Some say you can’t really overdo it, while others say this can potentially overwork the muscles if you’re doing it too often, for too long. This can cause foam rolling too hard or long to potentially be harmful or leave you bruised. But doing it slowly and making sure to keep breathing can help your body ease into it. Make sure to listen to your body and if the pressure feels too extreme, make adjustments as needed.
What are some common techniques?
When foam rolling, it’s important that you target the right places; not all parts are equal! Below you’ll find a few tips and common techniques for prehab exercises:
- Hamstrings: Start by sitting down with your legs straight out in front of you. Place the foam roller on the back of your upper legs/thighs. With your arms supporting you on either side, lift your hips, and begin rolling your weight to one leg, applying pressure to the hamstring through the foam roller. Make sure to relax your muscles and hamstrings while doing this. Then repeat with the other leg.
- Calves: Static stretching is good for calves, but foam rolling is better in the long run for muscle fibers. Begin by sitting down with your legs placed out in front of you, and put the foam roller under your calf (lower leg). Place your hands on each side to support your weight, then lift your hips. Place your weight against the calf muscle, and roll from ankle to below the knee. Then do the same with the other leg. Roll out each calf for 30 seconds.
- Upper Back: The first step is to lie down on your back. Then, place a foam roller underneath your upper back. Raise your hips, so the weight is placed on the roller, then shift your weight to roll from the upper back to the middle of your back.
- Hip Flexor: Sitting for extended periods can increase the muscle tightness in your hip flexor. Rolling out your hip flexor will help loosen the muscle tissue and the connective tissue. Begin the exercise by lying down. Face the floor with the foam roller under your hip flexor. Make sure you are in a forearm plank position and that your left leg is bent to the side. Then repeat with the right leg. Do the exercise for 30 seconds on each side.
Want more information?
Looking to learn more about foam rolling, or want a physical therapist to assist with technique and provide additional options for muscle recovery? Book your screening at www.IvyRehab.com/book.