Foam rolling is the inexpensive fitness must-do that is the single best way to prevent injury and optimise your training results.
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial (outer layer muscle) release that involves applying pressure to specific parts of your body. It can be used as tissue prep before your workout or after a workout for tissue recovery to prevent soreness.
How foam rolling works:
Using the foam roller to apply pressure on sore areas helps break up adhesions (muscle tears or tightness) and restore muscle function and healthy blood flow.
So you think you can foam roll? Here’s what to do:
- Move Slowly
If there is a definite trigger point, sustain pressure on the tender area for 15-30 seconds. This should assist in rehydration and releasing the knot. Fast rolling is relatively ineffective and could result in unnecessary muscle tension and bruising. Remember, you’re working on a thick, fibrous web of tissue, so a quick pass over with the roller won’t fix anything.
- Get Specific
Spend time on areas that need it. Target specific areas that will help you with certain movements. Don’t be afraid to explore new areas (e.g. your lats, inner thigh, the sole of your foot); I guarantee you’ll find new, tighter spots to work on.
- Avoid Excessive Rolling on Injured Area
Constantly working over an injured area can end up creating more inflammation and tension. Instead, foam roll away from the injured area to the connecting tissues and attachment areas.
If you don’t have a foam roller, you could use a tennis ball or even your own hands.
Once this area is rid of all the old blood that was unable to move freely, new blood is then able to move into the area and create better movement and better muscle recruitment.
By Sonia McGlynn, Personal Trainer @ Orangetheory Fitness, Bondi Junction