I know some of you are starting to use the foam roller as part of your weekly training routine with great effect.
For those who aren’t or for those who are having problems with muscle tightness or niggles here is a short piece that will hopefully help you to get the most out of this simple, but extremely effective piece of equipment.
The Benefits Of The Foam Roller
In essence the foam roller is a self massage tool that helps release muscle tightness and knots. In turn this helps the muscles become more injury resistant and will lead to a greater range of motion and better function. It is also very effective on muscles that already have a strain as it will help to speed up the recovery process.
The massage is best performed after a minimum of 15 minutes warm up and prior to any static stretching.
How To Use The Foam Roller
To use the foam roller correctly you will need to apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle group using the roller and just your body weight. To cover the entire muscle break it down into halves or thirds and roll back and forward about ten times over that segment. When you encounter a knot slowly massage back and forth and from side to side for about fifteen seconds or until the discomfort starts to ease. If an area really starts to hurt support some of your weight on your arms (photo B). You can then add more weight as the muscle relaxes.
Once you have finished the massage session perform static stretches on the individual muscles and hold for twenty to thirty seconds. Ultimately the massaged muscle will become smoother, have more mobility and will become stronger and more injury resistant.
As a word of caution never roll on a joint or bone and avoid rolling your lower back.
You can use the roller twice a week on the same muscle group as a form of maintenance and three times a week for rehabilitation on a strain or injury. Make sure not to use the roller on consecutive days on the same muscle.