For me as a professional athlete, using a foam roller is a daily routine, which has a positive impact on my overall health, improves the quality of my workouts, and also helps me prevent all kinds of injuries – even something as small as pulled muscle can keep me out of training for a few weeks.
So what I want to provide you with today is some basic information on how to start using a foam roller, know when to use it and what are the main benefits of a foam roller. The purpose of foam rolling is essentialy relaxing your muscles by massaging soft tissues and increasing blood flow in affected parts of your body as well as getting rid of muscle tightness, soarness, increasing recovery process and decreasing risk of getting injured.
This can be somewhat painful at the beginning, but when you get a good hang of it and spend some time on creating a routine for yourself, you can ease you body from muscle tightness or any sort of discomfort in literally minutes. And enjoy it!
Main Benefits of A Foam Roller – All The Good Stuff
There are simply too many benefits of foam rolling so I just want to take on the most important ones. Everyone knows the typical feeling of tight low back or inter planar muscles, tight hamstrings, calves, glutes, etc. Feeling of tightness is simply a signal from your nervous system to your brain, that certain muscles are being overused or traumatized and that leads to diminished blood flow, pain and muscle tension.
And that’s when a foam roller comes in handy.
Foam rolling is basically a self massage, except you have a roller instead of pair of hands and you are in control of how much pressure you apply and where exactly you apply it. When foam rolling, you are relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow and nutrient flow which then leads to:
- Better posture – massaging especially your spinal muscles and your lats, delts and traps can have major impact on creating better posture. It also helps to engage smaller muscles on your back that will help you maintain your posture.
- Better range of motion – increased blood flow means warmer and more hydrated muscles. You can then get a better stretch and workout in and slowly increase your range of motion.
- Decreased risk of injury – better range of motion leads to better flexibility which leads to lower risk of getting injured.
- Faster recovery time – we’ve discussed this before but i want to mention this one more time since it’s really important in my opinion. More blood flow in your muscles is essential for the time you need to recover after a work out or any kind of stress you put on your body.
- Overall great feeling – nothing is better than doing a good thing for your body and feeling great at the same time. I think one of the main reasons foam rolling is so popular in fitness community is that not only it comes with all these benefits but it also feels amazing!
How And When Use a Foam Roller – Everybody Is Different
Your focus should now be on knowing How and when use a foam roller. This really comes down to how much stress do you put on your muscles on regular basis. I broke this down to four categories. Find a category you belong in and start using foam roller on your most problematic areas
- none to very little physical activity, office job – back muscles, glutes, hamstrings
- occasional jogger, some physical activity – back muscles, lats, inter planar muscles, calves, hamstrings
- gym 3x a week, amateur athlete, good amount of physical activity – back, lats, delts, inter planar, pecks, calves, hamstrings, quads
- Pro athlete – all the above + sport characteristic problematic areas
If this sounds like too much for you, don’t worry. Each part of your body should be massaged no more than 2 minutes (depending on the size), so the whole session should be around 10-15 minutes long. You will feel relaxed, more energized and ready to go!
Foam Rolling is usually done before a workout session to warm up and get muscles ready for work or afterwards to cool down. If you don’t workout simply use it whenever you feel tightness or discomfort. If you are working in office, your glutes, hips and back will thank you for doing so.
Don’t forget that everybody is different and has different type of body composition. If you are just starting out, I recommend to start with your back. Back is the most omitted part yet the most important one. By relaxing and increasing blood flow in your back you will open up your hips and shoulder which is very beneficial for your body.
Great Investment – Save Your Money!
One of the biggest reason to purchase a foam roller is the price tag. From a range of 20$ to 100$ (if you’re really needy) you can have your own personal masseur that’s available 24/7. Yes, it takes some practice and knowledge, but you can help yourself basically anywhere and anytime.
If you are not sure if foam roller is for you, just get a 10$ dollar piece and try it out. But from my own experience I know you will fall in love with it and will soon want to upgrade:)
So don’t be spending big bucks on physiotherapists and masseurs if you can get the job done by yourself. And better.
Foam Roll Every Day – Create a Routine
The most powerful way to use a foam roller is to use it every day – create a routine. It can be anytime during the day – the morning, before workout, after workout or before bed. you will need to do a bit of experimenting to see what works for you. But from my experience foam rolling before any physical activity is a must.
As far as I am concerned, everyone that uses foam roller daily can achieve great results with their body. If you follow the tips I laid out above, pick a quality foam roller and create a solid routine, you will feel the results in no time!