You’ve probably seen it. Those people at the gym, rollin’ around on the floor with a giant cylinder looking thing, and wonder “what the heck are they doing?” Well, I decided to investigate and find out what the big deal is with those foam rollers and see if they really do make a difference in your workout or even just the way you feel on a daily basis.
Foam rolling, is basically like a deep tissue massage for your muscles. It’s a type of soft-tissue therapy that focuses on connective tissues called fascia. Fascia is tissue that connects your muscles, bones and ligaments to provide support throughout your entire body. When it works properly, fascia is elastic and can stretch and move as one with the rest of your body. However, many times, due to intense workouts, poor posture or movement patterns, stress, and lifestyle factors, fascia can tighten and become stiff, restricting movement and even causing pain. So you might be asking yourself, why can’t I just stretch? Why do I need another product to work out stiff muscles? Unfortunately, conventional stretching doesn’t always work to release tight fascia. Direct pressure from a foam roller is needed to release the tight muscles or tissue. A foam roller is like having a massage therapist in your house at all times.
Below are some of the benefits of foam rolling.
1. Improves range of motion and performance. Foam rolling can break up knots in muscle tissue and help return muscles back to normal.
2. Relieves sore muscle pain. Foam rolling breaks up the lactic acid that builds up in muscles after a workout or over use and allows better circulation and more oxygen to your muscles which in-turn helps you feel less sore faster.
3. Relaxes Muscles. Just like deep tissue massage, a foam roller if used correctly will apply direct pressure on a tight muscle and help it relax and release the tension. The key to proper foam rolling is to roll each muscle group for 1-2 minutes and roll very slowly. When you hit a tight spot that is painful or uncomfortable, hold on that spot for 30-45 seconds. You should be able to feel the tension release slowly.
4. Foam rolling can also correct muscle imbalances. Because foam rolling can relax tight muscles, improve range of motion, and lengthen muscles, it allows your body to perform better. It helps correct muscle imbalances by relaxing the overactive, tight muscles, and allowing for proper movement to strengthen the weak, underactive muscles.
I do want to warn those that are new to foam rolling that it might seem painful while doing it sometimes. I like to refer to it as a hurts so good kind of pain. The deep pressure on the muscle tissue while doing it is painful but after you are done you feel so much better.
So next time you are at the gym and you see someone rolling around you will know what they are doing. I hope that you will try it out too. I promise after one time you will want one for your house.