Foam rolling is the pre- and post-workout ritual you have been missing! Not only is it a cheaper alternative to a sports massage but it offers many of the same benefits, such as improved circulation, reduced inflammation and flexibility. Known as self-myofascial release (SMR), foam rolling helps reduce muscle tension and increases muscle length so you can perform at your peak. Once you start seeing the benefits of foam rolling, you’ll wish you’d started sooner!
How foam rolling can benefit your workout routine
Effective pre-workout warm-up
Using a foam roller every day can be highly beneficial for a number of reasons. Not only does it give you a deep-tissue massage that enables recovery and encourages blood circulation, but it is also an effective pre-workout warm-up. Regular foam rolling prepares your muscles for the workout ahead by improving their pliability and increasing blood flow. A few minutes of light cardio, together with foam rolling and a good stretch, will make your body more receptive to the benefits of foam rolling and help prevent injury. If you’re a runner, rolling out your muscles beforehand can help to improve your overall performance.
Aids post-workout recovery
One major benefit of foam rolling is that it is the perfect way to conclude an exercise routine. Not only does foam rolling help reduce soreness, but it assists the overall post-workout recovery process by preventing and reducing adhesions in the muscles. So how does this process work? After a vigorous workout, muscle damage occurs which signals a repair process in the body. To repair the injured tissue; new collagen molecules form but if the tissue is not moved properly during this process, the collagen could bind between the muscle layers and form adhesions. Rolling out sore and injured muscles helps reduce the risk of this happening.
Adhesions can be addressed using the foam roller itself, by placing the foam roller under the pressure point and pressing your weight down until you feel the tension ease. If the tender area is small, simply use a smaller item (like a tennis ball) to loosen the knot. Then you can lengthen out the muscle by gently rolling across it with the foam roller for half a minute.
Improved recovery times
As you work out, your muscles generate a build-up of lactic acid which essentially heightens fatigue, intensifies post-workout stiffness and lengthens recovery time. Many of the techniques used with foam rolling target this lactic acid and break it down, which results in less post-workout stress and quicker recovery time.
Relieving the fascia
Foam rolling can relieve the muscle pain associated with exercise, especially shin splints and IT band syndrome. Like a sports massage; foam rolling reduces inflammation, targets and breaks up scar tissue in the muscles and reduces joint stress. The fascia is a sheet of tissue beneath the skin that connects, stabilises and separates muscles and internal organs. By putting pressure on this sheet of tissue, foam rolling can reduce many of the muscular problems associated with a tense fascia.
However, it is better to underwork tissue than overwork it so keep your rolling time between 30 and 90 seconds per muscle. If you feel you need to roll for longer, you are probably suffering from a deeper issue that can’t be fixed by a foam roller. Excessive rolling could cause further damage to an injured area.
Flexibility and mobility
By relieving tension in the fascia, a foam roller can do wonders to enhance your flexibility and mobility. Intensive lifting sessions can put pressure on the fascia as the body bulks. This essentially stifles free movement, and could possibly even result in problems with the joints, bones and tendons. Using a foam roller after these sessions can reduce the impact that weight lifting often has on the body.
By breaking down lactic acid and enhancing flexibility, foam rolling can condition your body to recover and perform better during routines or strenuous exercise. Not only this, but it can also go a long way to ensuring that you avoid injuries. Foam rolling increases blood and oxygen circulation to your muscles, which ensures that you stay off the bench.
However, if you are new to foam rolling, stick to a softer, smooth roller. Rolling out muscles with a hard, textured roller can compress the tissue too much, causing unnecessary pain and sometimes bruising. Once you’re a seasoned roller and your muscle tissue is used to the pressure, you can graduate to a firmer roller.
There are several benefits of foam rolling when done correctly. Taking an online foam rolling course can give you the knowledge you need to help yourself and others to get the most out of foam rolling. Trifocus Fitness Academy is a leader in health and fitness education, offering an extensive array of health and fitness qualifications at competitive prices. Find out more about our online foam rolling course or our other fitness courses, speak to a consultant at 0861444765.