As we’ve said in previous articles, foam rolling is a proven self-myofascial release technique used by fitness coaches, athletes, personal trainers and members of the public alike. Self-myofascial release is any action taken by a person to reduce their muscular tension, aches and pains. This technique often involves self-massaging and placing prolonged pressure on a particularly sore spot using your fingers, elbows and other equipment. Let’s take a closer look at the areas a foam roller can target, times when you might need to consider foam rolling, and when is the best time to use a foam roller.
When to Use a Foam Roller
They say you should stretch before and after exercise to avoid injury, and the same goes for foam rolling. Rolling before exercise will improve circulation, increase tissue elasticity, and improve your range of motion. This will help you move better during exercise and protect your muscles from injury.
Foam rolling directly after exercise is the most common time to do so as this is a great way to enhance recovery. By working on the muscle groups you focused on during your workout, you’ll improve blood flow in these areas and increase oxygen levels. This greatly reduces post-workout recovery time.
When in Pain
Muscular pain can be reduced through targeted foam rolling as long as you don’t roll too hard. This can do more damage than good so start off gently working the roller from outside of the pain point towards it. If you feel worse after the rolling, be sure to consult your doctor.
Prone to waking up stiff and sore all over your body? Rise like a champ every morning with a good foam rolling just before you go to bed. This improves flexibility and releases muscular tension as well as enhancing muscular repair while you sleep.
Areas a Foam Roller Can Target
These are a few areas of the body where muscular pain can be relieved using a foam roller:
Neck and Shoulders
Does your job require you to remain desk-bound for most of the day, hunching over your computer and keyboard? Computer workers tend to slouch, which puts strain on the neck, shoulders and upper back. Foam rolling will assist with removing muscle knots in these areas and can even help to correct hunched posture!
Lower and Upper Back
Back pain is something most of us will experience at some point in our lives. Countless physiotherapists recommend foam rolling for back-pain sufferers as it is able to immediately release tension, return troublesome back muscles to their optimal state and increase flexibility.
Arms and Legs
Other than those in the back, leg muscles are very popular target areas for foam rolling. Runners and other endurance sportsmen use foam rollers to keep leg muscles in tip-top condition, and foam rolling can also be used to stretch and repair sore arm muscles like the biceps and triceps.
Times You Might Need a Foam Rolling
Here are a few occasions when foam rolling can really assist to bring relief from bodily pain:
These can be described as those irritating pains you get from sleeping in a strange position, slouching at your desk, or picking up that heavy box of stuff incorrectly. We can damage our muscles in a million ways but, thankfully, with a foam roller on hand these lifestyle pains can be remedied on the spot.
These types of aches and pains come about as a result of exercise. From sore calf muscles or quads due to vigorous walking or running, to sore arms and pectoral muscles from pumping iron in the gym, a foam rolling session after a workout will greatly reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time.
Found that, lately, you’ve been waking up feeling, well, old? There are a bunch of reasons why you’d awaken feeling stiff and immobile, and incorrect sleep posture is one of these. So, when you wake up stiff, grab your foam roller and awaken your tired, strained muscles in minutes!