Why Foam Rolling Should Be Part Of Your Training Routine
When we train hard and often — and everyone reading this does, right? — muscle tissue can become bunched up. You probably refer to these irritating and often workout-hindering occurrences as “knots.” Using a foam roller can be an amazingly awful way to rid yourself of those knots. Why did we put it like that? Well, because the self-myofascial release produced by rolling a body part on a dense piece of foam can hurt like hell. But it feels oh so incredibly good afterward.
“Rolling can ‘floss’ the kinks out,” says Brian Matthews CSCS. “This can aid in things like increasing mobility and promoting blood flow in the capillaries. One way to think of it is as a cheaper alternative to hiring a massage therapist; it also gives you the ability to choose varying degrees of foam density.”
This puts you in control of how much pain-to-pleasure you want to experience while rolling. “Some people might prefer to use something super soft, while others might opt for something akin to PVC pipe,” he adds.
Use the foam roller pre- and post-workout for maximum benefits. Prior to your dynamic warm-up, roll on the muscles in which you plan to use during your training session for about a minute each. This can also help you identify any tender areas to keep tabs on while you train. After your last rep, roll again. Do so before your static stretches, which can break up bunched up fascia — a layer of tissue — and enable you to achieve a better, deeper stretch.
“There are all sorts of tools for your soft tissues,” Matthews continues. “You can use a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, The Stick muscle roller, and rumble rollers (vibrating foam rollers).”
Whichever method you choose, aim to make it part of your overall training strategy.