You may have seen foam rollers around the gym, or in workout plans. In fact, it is used in our intermediate level youth training plans. But what is it, and why use it?
Foam rolling is most simply looked at as an, on the spot massage at home. It helps relieve pain by working the tensions in your muscles and tendons, but also has many other benefits. Two of these reasons are; 1) increased circulation and 2) an increased range of movement. Which overall means, better recovery times and less injuries.
When do I foam roll?
Foam rolling can be conducted before, during, and/or after a workout. Athletes that have a lot of time dedicated to training will often foam roll before and after a workout. This is because the benefit of increase circulation is both a good way to start warming up your muscles, as well as cool them down. However, if your limited on time, just adding them to your regular training before or after the work out can be an immense help.
You don’t have to use it just before or after a workout either. Foam rolling can be used to help relieve tension in your muscles at any time. So if you are sore or tight in one particular area, take a few minutes to sit down and roll your muscles out.
How and what should I roll?
It’s always good to get a thorough rollout and hit all of your major muscle groups, even if you haven’t worked them that day. Consider adding a rollout session to your weekly workout schedule with at least 3 sessions in a 7-day workout plan. If your using the foam roller to warm up or cool down, make sure that at a minimum you get the muscles targeted in that workout. You can also foam roll in between the sets of your workout, to target the muscle group. This will create maximum blood flow and increase flexibility of the target area. If your rolling out because your sore, roll the muscles that are tight and pay attention to make sure you leave rolling pressure on the tight spots for 5-10 seconds or 3-4 rolls back and forth in the target muscle group you are trying to roll. This action will help release the tension in those specific areas that are causing the pain.