A foam roller is a great way to assist with recovery from workouts and exercise. It’s a myofascial release used to relieve tension in muscles and connective tissue. Similar to massage in its effect on muscle tension, it also has its own different benefits. You can do foam rolling exercises on your own and gain benefits with simple and easy movements that enable your muscles to release by using your own body in different positions. You can access areas that may not be available through basic stretching. The work is done lying on the floor with your body on the foam roller creating the pressure, as much or as little as you choose. Regular use of the roller can be beneficial for enhancing performance, preventing injuries, and speeding up injury recovery. It will warm cold muscles for deep, specific stretching, as well as before activity. Foam rolling is a great way for you to tune into yourself and your muscle tension because it can be an indicator to when muscles are beginning to tighten, even if the tension isn’t causing any issue in your exercise activities yet.
Below are a few guidelines for using the foam roller:
1. Perform before static or dynamic stretching activities, to improving the tissue’s ability to lengthen during stretching activities, or after hard workouts when you are warm and would like to prevent muscle tension from happening.
2. Slowly roll the targeted area until the most tender spot is found. Hold on that spot while relaxing the targeted area and reducing the tension, between 30 seconds and 90 seconds. Slightly roll forward and back on the area and then move around it until there is less tension.
3. Maintain core stability to support your positions on the roller throughout all of the exercise.
4. Explore the exercises to find slight modification or angles that can target different areas of the muscle by moving in different directions and on different parts of the roller.
5. Begin with focusing on the following larger muscles: calves, hamstrings, inner thighs, quads, upper back, neck, and spine. Once you are more familiar with the technique you can work more strongly and on more areas of the body.