What is foam rolling? How do I use it? Will it help with recovery?
Previously, foam rolling (also referred to as self-myofascial release) was limited to elite athletes and their team of experts. However, this technique has now evolved into common practice - irrespective of fitness levels. Information found from recent studies and the accessibility of affordable products has introduced this technique to a broader audience. This week's blog will focus on getting some answers to your burning questions about what foam rolling really entails. I've also included some video clips for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
What is foam rolling ?
Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that is used to relieve tightness in the muscles and trigger points. This technique, if applied correctly, aids with muscle recovery and will result in muscles that are elastic and healthy. When trigger points are released, pain-free movement is established and performance is ultimately improved. Foam rolling may be used on various muscle groups. These include the calves, hamstrings, quads, outer thighs, shoulders, sides and even the buttocks. Have a look at the following video to gain more insight.
How do I use a foam roller?
For newbies, using a foam roller can be quite daunting. The following video will make the transition into applying the technique on different muscle groups slightly easier.
But it hurts!
Due to the pressure applied during a sports massage, this specific technique is generally associated with the word 'pain'. A Sports Massage Therapist will manipulate the muscles of the body to try to eradicate knots and in the process, may be very uncomfortable and at times painful. Foam rolling on the other hand, gives the user the power to control the recovery process. Pressure is applied at the exact location that discomfort is felt. Unless specifically told, the Sports Massage Therapist will not always be aware of specific spots that need attention. It is advisable to get medical consent before foam rolling. However, most people will obtain clearance unless otherwise stated. Avoid rolling the lower back. Do not foam roll bones and joints. The use of a tennis ball on these areas is recommended. Pain in the neck? Consult a medical professional.
So I've used it. What next?
Soreness may be experienced on the day following a foam rolling session. Stay hydrated. Get sufficient sleep. Watch your diet. If necessary, wait a day or two before foam rolling the same area again.
Will it help with recovery?
Most definitely. Foam rolling improves circulation. It helps prepare the body for a workout and also aids in the recovery process thereafter. Knots found in muscles limit range of motion. Foam rolling breaks down these knots and improves muscle elasticity. These benefits reduce the chance of injury and cuts recovery time. A shorter recovery time allows for more training sessions and accelerated achievement of fitness goals.
Not keen on foam rolling but want similar results? Book your Sports Massage session with Muscle Management today. Remember to like our Instagram and Facebook pages to be updated on our current rates and special offers.
Also be on the lookout for next week's blog: Crossfit and Sports Massage Therapy.
Until then, cheers!