How To Use A Foam Roller To Treat Or Prevent Injury
Few things are more frustrating for anyone serious about their workout program than an injury. One minute things are going great – you’re highly motivated and ready to give it your all and the next minute, you’re injured.
Now you’re sitting on the sidelines, wondering how many days, weeks, or months it will be before you can get back on track again.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do prevent injuries as well as manage those injuries you may already have.
One such thing is foam rolling. Let’s go over what this is and how it can help.
What Is Foam Rolling?
Foam rolling is a way of providing myofascial release to the body, which is often used by massage therapists and physiotherapists while treating athletes suffering from injuries.
Foam rolling involves taking a firm piece of cylindrical foam and then placing a certain segment of your body over top of it, rolling back and forth.
As you relax the muscle tissues, the foam will loosen up those soft tissues, reducing the severity of any muscle knots, tension spots, or even breaking up scar tissue that may be present and causing pain.
You can purchase these foam rollers in different size and firmness levels, so this needs to be taken into account as well. Generally the larger the body part, the larger the diameter the roller should be and the more muscle mass tissue you have in that area, the firmer it should be.
How To Foam Roll Properly
When first starting out with foam rolling, take note that it isn’t going to feel so great. In fact, for many people, it will be downright painful.
Your job is to work through this pain, allowing the body to fully relax as you move through the movement.
You’ll feel this pain as the foam roller is working through those tight and painful areas, slowly loosening them up and reducing the level of pain you have.
So as you foam roll, first find that area where you are feeling tight and/or sore. Then slowly roll over it, moving about one inch per second. If you hit an especially sore area, hold that area for a count of five.
This will be very challenging, but focus on breathing in and relaxing the muscle as you do. If you hold your breath instead, it will only maintain the level of tension in the muscle tissues.
Hold that and once you’re finished, continue on. Do one or two passes over each muscle group that’s sore before moving on to the next.
This can be done daily or every other day depending on just how sore you are.
In addition to helping you recover from injuries faster, this can also help prevent injuries as well. Those who foam roll can increase the total flexibility of a muscle tissue, making it less tense when you then go and perform exercise.
This in turn can make you less prone to muscle strains or pulls, reducing your overall risk of injury.
While foam rolling should never fully replace regular stretching for flexibility training, it is definitely a good idea to add to your program as part of your approach.
So there you have they key points to know about foam rolling. In the beginning it can be quite intimidating and may feel incredibly painful, but as your body gets used to the process, you should find that you really notice that you feel a lot better after doing it.
Do it on a regular basis – at least two to three times per week as maintenance to help prevent injuries from developing.