Are Vibrating Foam Rollers Really Worth It?
If you want to be an elite athlete, you must make your fitness and active recovery a priority. Studies have shown that vibrating foam rollers can be over two times as effective than using a traditional foam roller. By reading this article you will get the following:
- 1. The Importance of Foam Rolling
- 2. Vibrating Foam Roller Study
- 3. Proper Foam Rolling Routine
- 4. Other Active Recovery Tools
- 5. Other Tips on How to Achieve Peak Performance
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF FOAM ROLLING
Foam rolling, when done properly is an effective way to increase recovery effectiveness and shorten recovery time. Foam rollers can be used for increasing blood flow, flexibility, and range of motion as part of a pre-workout warm-up routine. They are also an effective form of recovery to reduce muscle knots post-exercise.
Medically known as self-myofascial release (SMR), the use of foam rollers for the purpose of reducing muscle tension has become a widely accepted recovery practice. Many people from professional athletes to marathon runners find foam rolling as an important part of their fitness routines.
Foam rolling targets the fascia, which is the most easily accessible layer of muscle closest to the skin. The fascia gets tight during moments of stress or during competition. Using a foam roller can help restore this connective tissue to its natural lengthened state.
2. VIBRATING FOAM ROLLER STUDY
Studies have shown that the added vibration feature makes foam rolling more than 2x as effective than a traditional foam roller. Vibrating foam rollers can increase range of motion, blood flow, and flexibility by up to 40%, compared to 18% with traditional foam rollers.
Check out this 2015 Study Done By Researchers at UNC which concluded that the added vibration feature increases range of motion, blood-flow, and flexibility by up two times as much that can be achieved with a regular foam roller.
3. PROPER FOAM ROLLING ROUTINE USING VIBRATING FOAM ROLLER
A proper warmup is critical to a workout routine. The purpose of the warmup is to increase blood flow to the muscle groups that are going to be actively engaged in your workout. For a proper preparation, a dynamic warmup that mimics the range of motion that your body is about to experience is recommended.
In addition, foam rolling can help increase range of motion, blood flow, and flexibility before your workout. A vibrating foam roller can do this even better as studies have shown that the added vibration increases range of motion, blood flow, and flexibility by up to 40%.
How to Foam Roll the Lower Body Correctly:
Note: This video is sped up 3x speed. It is important to roll at a rate of about one inch per second for optimal blood flow, pliability, and range of motion. Always roll towards the heart for maximum blood flow and oxygen dispersion to your muscles.
10 Step Lower Body Foam Rolling Routine:
- 1. Left Calf
- 2. Right Calf
- 3. Left Hamstring
- 4. Right Hamstring
- 5. Left IT Band
- 6. Left Quad
- 7. Left Groin
- 8. Right IT Band
- 9. Right Quad
- 10. Right Groin.
4. VIBRATING FOAM ROLLERS AND OTHER ACTIVE RECOVERY TOOLS
The quicker you can recover, the more of an advantage you will have over your competition. Additionally, shorter recovery time is correlated with injury prevention. Staying injury free can help prolong you athletic career and provide you opportunities that you could not get elsewhere.
A sports massage is often necessary for elite athletes to fix muscle imbalances. A secondary option is to get massage tools or devices like a vibrating foam roller that can help speed up recovery. There are a few out there, but the vibrating foam roller that we recommend is the Kingsfield Spark which is priced much more affordably than some other top of the line vibrating foam rollers. The Kingsfield Spark as well as additional tools that can help with active recovery are all listed in the links below.
- Kingsfield Spark Vibrating Foam Roller $99
- Multi-loop Stretch Strap $20
- Shoulder Cane Massager $36
- Massage Stick $18
- Mini Bands $12
- Full Body Resistance Bands (Set of 4) $48
5. OTHER TIPS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE PEAK PERFORMANCE
FOCUS ON YOUR DIET AND NUTRITION
First off, diet and nutrition are single most important component of personal wellness. Having a proper focus in this area will lead to better overall health. In general, eating natural foods is best. There is so much processed food in our society that can be detrimental to athletic performance and long term health. Focus on eating real food that comes from the Earth.
As an athlete, you must focus on getting adequate nutrients. A good way to do this is to calculate your caloric intake. If you are trying to lose weight, you should operate at a caloric deficit, meaning you eat less calories than you burn. But it is important that this number is not drastically less than the calories that you are burning, as this is not sustainable.
The average person should consumer 2,000 calories a day. The average athlete needs 3,000-5,000 calories per day, depending on the activities performed. Find out where you fit and create a plan that works for you.
USE RESISTANCE BANDS
Did you know that weight lifting is a man made phenomenon? Almost all muscle groups can be strengthened using bands instead of heavy weights.
Resistance bands allow for a deep fluid, range of motion during exercise. You can get the same results as using heavy weights without the risks of injury. Resistance bands help build strength and power while keeping your muscles longer, and making them less dense than they would be during conventional heavy weight training. Resistance bands can also help limit inflammation which is terrible for any athlete's body.
They allow for aerobic conditioning while complementing increased mobility. By mimicking the body's natural, everyday movements without overload, bands allow for a more balanced approach to strength training. Together with mobility, resistance allow for a more sustainable fitness routine, and can extend your career by limiting injury from overload.
Next, lets discuss the importance of sleep.
Sleep plays an important role in physical wellness. As an athlete is particularly important for muscle recovery. When exercising heavily, muscles get tight. A proper rest results in muscles being restored to their natural lengthened state. Athletes over the age of 18 should aim for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. The athlete should aim for 9-10 hours of sleep to fully recover and be able to perform at a high level on days where the athlete is put under more heavy stress.
Imagine the difference when you look behind the counter in a butcher shop. You see a beautiful piece of tenderloin. Right next to it you see a dried up piece of beef jerky. The tenderloin is healthy and supple, while the jerky is shriveled and dried out. That beef jerky is what dehydrated muscles look like.
Dehydration is a chronic problem, and its more common than people realize. Most athletes don’t realize that they’re sweating out anywhere between eight to ten cups of water a day. That needs to be replenished. Coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda are all dehydrating.
Here is where self awareness comes into play. Everyone is made differently. Therefore, each of us may be deficient in different nutrient categories. When it comes to supplementation, it is important to supplement only what you cannot get naturally. For starters, it is recommended to take a daily multivitamin and fish-oil supplement. Additionally, find out what areas you are deficient in and add those supplements as needed.
If you want to be an elite athlete, you have to start treating yourself like one! Foam rolling with vibration has been proven to increase athletic performance. Apply these principles and suggestions to your routine to watch yourself jump ahead of the competition. You only get one body, invest in it.