Foam Rolling: hurt so good!

habits movement recovery Oct 12, 2020

So you may have heard of foam rolling, you may have seen a foam roller but not realised what it was, or you may be the king/queen of rolling and be all in with a regular rolling routine. Chris and I have been 'rolling with our rollers' for some time now and have found it to be the most marvellous release for your tired, achey limbs.

As well as embracing your inner child and getting to flop around on the floor foam rolling is both safe and effective. It’s great for working out those tight sore muscles but also for preventing them in the first place. Folks who regularly exercise should also consider regular foam rolling.

The benefits of foam rolling include:
  • Correct Muscle Imbalances: Foam rolling helps muscles relax and at the same time help ease the connection between fascia and muscle to avoid muscle restriction when we exercise.
  • Improve Joint Range of Motion: Foam rolling can help break up knots, adhesions and scar tissue to strengthen and lengthen muscles and increase our range of motion.
  • Relieve Muscle Soreness and Joint Stress: Foam rolling helps speed recovery by increasing blood circulation and reducing inflammation throughout our body. 
  • Improve Neuromuscular Efficiency: By improving blood circulation, foam rolling provides better oxygenation in our muscles.
  • Relax Muscles: Foam rolling helps our muscles relax by activating the sensory receptors connecting muscle fibres to tendons.  Breaking up tightness in your muscles may help you feel less tense and calmer as a result.
If you’ve never used a foam roller before, you may want to learn a few basics before you get started. Also check out Jen's 'Foam Rolling video' for a quick and easy to follow routine.
Keys points to remember when taking your foam roller for a spin...
  • drink plenty of water to help with recovery
  • don't roll over your joints (you could hyperextend or damage them)
  • start off with 5 passes or rolls over each area building up to 10, 20 or however many you need
  • to reap the most benefits use a hard roller, it may hurt a bit but that's when you know it's effective. Usually after 2 hours post roll, you'll start to notice the effects!
  • start with a lighter pressure, you may find it painful to foam roll at first if your muscles are tight. To adjust pressure, reduce the amount of body weight you’re putting onto the roller. For example, if you’re rolling out your calf, use your arms to help support your body and take some of your body weight off of the roller.
  • Length, diameter, texture, and firmness are all varying features of foam rollers. While a smooth foam roller is most common, ridges on a foam roller are best for very deep tissue massage that stimulates nerve endings. Meanwhile, a firm foam roller can penetrate deeper and make for a more intense foam rolling session. Small foam rollers are great for targeted areas and for storing in small spaces, while a larger foam roller can give an effective full body roll and be better for beginners.
  • and finally don't die laughing as you realise it looks like you're humping the roller and your neighbours are getting an eye full :)

Being serious (I'm never serious!) I can't actually remember where we got our rollers from or how much they were, but if you do an internet search you'll find prices ranging from the £6 mark all the way up to £120 for an all singing and dancing vibrating roller - taking the fun to a whole new level!

So now you know the 'how' and the 'what' be the person 'who' gives it a go and just 'roll with it'!




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