Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial, which is a form of self massage that releases muscle tightness and trigger points. Elite athletes and high-end therapists have been using these methods for years to combat aching muscles. In recent years, the foam rollers have become readily available for the average Joe to take advantage of.
4 Reasons to Foam Roll
1. Relieve Muscle Tension – The application of pressure to specific muscles via a foam roller can relieve tight muscles and knots, as well as speeding up muscle recovery.
2. Correct Muscle Imbalance and Improve Posture – Spine mobility is one of the many positive effects of foam rolling. It can also help correct rounded shoulders.
3. Increase Flexibility & Range of Motion – Inflexibility increases with age and can affect on-field performances as well as causing back pain. Even if it isn’t a problem for you now, foam rolling can help delay the onset of inflexibility and can keep your muscle’s range of motion at its fullest.
4. Injury Prevention – Stretching is possibly the most important thing when it comes to preventing bodily harm. Foam rollers can do this by lengthening and intensively massaging your muscles, which in turn will help to prevent injury. Remember, prevention is the best procedure.
4 Ways To Use Foam Rollers
With a foam roller, there is a broad range of exercises you can perform with them. The general rules are never to roll a joint or bone and don’t roll on your neck, knees or lower back. Here are four popular exercises to get you started.
1. Upper Back
• Lie on your back and place the roller beneath your shoulders, keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
• Roll the foam roller down your back by about an inch and work it back up to just a couple of inches below the neck.
• Plant your toes on the ground, lie face down and place the roller under your armpit.
• Start rolling your body toward the roller. Experiment by turning your arms and palms face up.
• Sit down, extend your legs and place your right leg (just above the Achilles) on the roller.
• Place your left ankle over the right and begin to roll your body backwards along the calf muscle in a slow motion.
• Keep your balance by using your hands by your sides. Don’t forget to swap legs and work both calves.
4. Hip Flexors
• Start in the plank position and place your thighs across the roller.
• Roll up about two inches towards the hip, and then down one.
• Keep going until you cover the entire front section, making sure to spend extra time on any tension or knots you feel.