Roll Out! Foam Rolling 101

If you didn't say that in your best Ludacris voice, then you need to get on my level... HA!

I never believed in the benefits of foam rolling until the last couple of years.  Once I actually learned how to do it the right way, I started to notice a HUGE difference in how I felt after my harder workouts.  I mostly use a foam roller for post workout recovery, but it can be used as a pre-workout warm up as well. The idea of foam rolling is based on the benefits of myofascial release (aka massage).  The pressure on the muscle causes tension in the fibers to relax, hence allowing them to lengthen more easily.

There are several benefits to adding foam rolling to your regular workout routine.  Not only will it aid in performance, but will also help reduce the chance of injury (especially for us older hats).

  1. Increased range of motion - foam rolling helps decrease lesion formation in the muscles which prevents tension and tightness. Better range of motion will help enhance your movement performance and increase flexibility
  2. Joint alignment - helps balance muscle length and tension across your joints, thus also aiding in proper alignment and movement
  3. Muscle recovery - reduces muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the area and decreasing build up of lactic acid

To foam roll properly, it is best to focus on one body part at a time.  Place the muscle directly on top of the foam roller and glide back and forth at about 1 inch per second.  You can do this for 60-90 seconds to allow the muscle time to relax and lengthen. I usually start on one side of the body then flip to finish on the other.  

Foam rolling is not going to be the most enjoyable experience when you first start out.  It can be quite uncomfortable until you get the hang of it, especially for those of us who are less flexible and prone to tighter muscles.  To be honest, I still have a love/hate relationship with the whole idea! The faces I make and words that come out of my mouth are not for the public eye.  However, I know it’s a necessary evil, so I suck it up like the big girl that I am and enjoy the benefits the next day when I can actually squat down to the toilet… 🙂

Check out this link for a few foam rolling moves to get you started.

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