When it comes to foam rolling, I was pretty late to the game. Stretching on the other hand, has always been a very important part of my fitness routine. I guess, I just lacked the awareness of how many benefits rolling out your muscles hold.
When Tone It Up released a new foam rolling video during their fall challenge in 2014, I decided to give it a shot. I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas that year and spent it on a foam roller by Trigger Point. According to several reviews on the Internet, they were the best.
My first time using the foam roller was uncomfortable and soothing at the same time. My legs were screaming while my back felt a big release. I continued to use the foam roller more frequently and found that it really helped with my soreness big time. Now I advise any fitness beginner to start foam rolling when feeling sore. You will see that you recover more quickly and your performance will improve tremendously. It is like a feel good massage for your muscles!
What is foam rolling?
When foam rolling you are applying pressure to different trigger points (tiny knots in your muscles that can cause pain in other parts of your body) in the fascial tissue which wraps around your muscles. Therefore, foam rolling is often also referred to as myofascial release or trigger-point therapy.
Your movements shouldn’t be too quickly but rather slow and concentrated. When you hit a tight spot, roll back and forth and around this area to loosen it up. You should not put all your pressure on one part for too long, though. 5-30 seconds are enough.
When I visited a fitness fair a couple of weeks ago, I even saw entire workouts using a foam roller. It is definitely a trend to watch. Here are 3 reasons why foam rolling is beneficial for your performance:
FASTER RECOVERY & PREVENTS INJURY
Making foam rolling a part of your regular fitness routine will leave you feel less fatigued and sore, thus you can get back to your training faster. It will also prevent injury as foam rolling warms up your muscles and improves your range of motion. I recently made it a habit to roll out my muscles before a workout. I can already tell a huge difference in my performance.
IMPROVES MOBILITY & FLEXIBILITY
I know that it is a common believe that strength and flexibility don’t go together. This is absolutely wrong. When you improve your flexibility, you will also be able to do many movements with better posture. Doing a correct squat, for example, requires flexibility in your calves in order for you to sit down with a straight back and legs bend at a 90 degrees angle. During plié squats, I always had this weird pain on the inside of my legs. Now that I foam roll, I not only can hold a plié better but the pain is gone too!
REMOVES LACTIC ACID TO AID RECOVERY
Think of foam rolling as a deep tissue massage. During tough workouts your body produces lactic acids to provide your muscles with the oxygen needed. This buildup can lead to cramps. When foam rolling after a workout you can help break down too much lactic acid. I was really sore after a workout recently. To the point that I could barely move my body anymore. So I got out my foam roller and started rolling. It was really painful but you know what, the next day all the pain was gone! It is like a magic wand!
If you are now curious and want to try foam rolling yourself, then you should definitely check out my foam roller routine below. These are the moves I do every day, sometimes even twice a day!
Do you have any experiences with foam rolling? I would love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!