By Reading This Article you Will Get the Following:
- What is Foam Rolling?
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Foam Roll
- How to Implement Foam Rolling Into Your Routine
What is Foam Rolling?
Foam rollers... We're sure you've seen them at the gym. You may have even tried foam rolling before. But why should you be foam rolling? Foam rollers are an excellent way to compliment your active recovery routine without reliance on others for assisted stretching and massage.
We've all had the days where it is tough to walk the day after a challenging workout / competition. In fitness, we call this Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. DOMS is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. This muscle soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise.
We recommend for anyone with extreme muscle soreness to see a physical therapist or massage therapist for assistance. We also know that not everyone has the time or resources to do so. Thankfully, there are tools and techniques that can help shorten or reduce this recovery time period.
Foam rolling, when done properly, can be an effective form of active recovery to aid in the relief of muscle soreness.
Here Are 7 Reasons Why You Should Foam Roll:
1. Foam rolling helps activate muscle groups.
Using a foam roller, combined with an appropriate dynamic warmup can help activate muscle groups. We wrote about an excellent lower body foam rolling routine in our previous blog post. Check out this Youtube video on a proper lower body foam rolling routine:
2. Foam rolling helps increase blood flow
Increasing blood flow to muscle groups is an important part of an effective warmup routine for any workout or competition. Foam rolling can help increase blood flow to targeted muscle groups. Below are some tips on foam rolling to help increase blood-flow:
- Roll at a rate of 1 inch per second
- Roll towards the heart for maximum blood-flow
- Using a vibrating foam roller can help increase blood-flow by 2x.
3. Using a foam roller helps increase range of motion and flexibility
Increasing your range of motion can be done in a few ways. The more range of motion our joints have, the less stress will be put on our joints. Less stress = less of a chance of injury. A dynamic warmup focusing on full functional movement is a solid start.
Using a foam roller can also help increase short term range of motion. This can be effective prior to exercise or in between sets when your muscle groups tend to tighten up.
A study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina concluded that foam rolling with vibration increases range of motion by up to 40% compared to 18% with a standard foam roller.
4. Foam rolling can help relieve muscle tension in between sets
When we put excessive stress on our muscles, they tend to tighten up. When our muscles are tight, our range of motion becomes restricted. When our range of motion becomes constricted, our form becomes compromised. Long term improper training can lead to many repetitive injuries including improper muscle alignment, spinal disk issues, etc.
Our body is a holistic, interconnected unit. Any part that is off balance will directly impact the rest of our body. Using a foam roller in between sets can help re set our muscles to be properly aligned.
5. Foam rolling can help lengthen your muscles after workout
After workout, it is important to restore our muscles to their natural, lengthened state. When we engage our muscles in high stress activities, they tighten up. Using tools like foam rollers can help restore your normal muscle length in an efficient manner.
6. Proper use of a foam roller can help your muscles recover quicker after workout
The trauma that our bodies go through in some of our workouts is not normal. Therefore, we must take active steps to ensure we are recovering in between workouts.
Adding a proper foam rolling routine into your workout will help your muscles recover at a quicker rate. Try a vibrating foam roller for an enhanced experience.
7. Foam rolling can help tight muscles relax before bed
According to this article, 70% of Americans work jobs that require sitting at a desk all day. Sitting at a desk is not a natural event for the human body and excessive amounts of sitting can lead to muscle imbalances.
For example, when you sit at a desk all day, your hip flexors and hamstrings will be tightened. If you are not compensating for these imbalances by stretching both your hamstrings and your hip flexors, you will develop muscle imbalances. Focusing on proper glute activation is another key component to compensating for these muscle imbalances.
Foam rolling can help lengthen your hamstings and hip flexors after a long day of sitting. Consider adding glute bridges to your routine to ensure that your glutes are properly engaged and pulling your pelvis back into its natural position.
How to Implement Foam Rolling Into Your Routine
Try foam rolling for 5-10 minutes before and after your workout. It is important to fix any muscle imbalance that you may have before it gets worse and leads to injury. There are several foam rollers on the market. Find one that works for you. If you have any questions on foam rolling or how to foam roll, reach out to us or a qualified trainer. We also post tips on our Youtube channel which can be found below.
We are in full control of our health and wellness. Whether you are an athlete, running a marathon, or a weekend warrior, you've probably experienced some sort of muscle soreness. In order to take the appropriate steps to help compensate for these muscle imbalances and muscle soreness, we must be properly educated on the tools and techniques that can be effectively applied.
Foam rolling can be an effective way to compliment your active recovery routine. When done properly, foam rolling can have a positive impact on your delayed muscle onset soreness (DOMS).
Foam rolling can help with muscle activation, injury prevention, and active recovery. Not everyone has access to a trainer or massage therapist 24/7. Knowing how to properly use a foam roller can help save you time and money. If you've tried foam rolling, we'd love to hear your results!
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