HOW TO FOAM ROLL
Foam rollers, once on the sidelines, are now taking center stage in the fitness world. In the 1980’s, they were first used as supports and to do balance work in therapy. By 2008 foam rollers gained popularity as tools in improving functionality of the muscle, fascia and connective tissues such as the tendons.
There has been a lot of misunderstanding on how to use foam rollers properly and even which type of roller to select. Today, I offer classes devoted to teaching the technique of foam rolling, also called SMR or Self-Myofascial Release.
In brief, the technique involves holding gentle constant pressure on or slowly rolling areas of the body over a foam tube to bring about a variety of results including improved athletic performance and flexibility, reduced workout-related soreness or pain, faster recovery time and reduced muscle pain.
Proper use of foam rollers can improve mobility and flexibility, and relieve stress, discomfort, pain or stiffness in the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck.
How Does Foam Rolling Work?
Foam Rolling works on two essential components:
1) the muscle itself with its tendons and
2) the elastic fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the muscle and is interwoven between the various layers of skeletal muscle.
When healthy, the muscle is pliable and allows surrounding joints to move easily through an unrestricted range of motion.
The main reason tissue becomes “unhealthy” is due to adhesions. Adhesions can be as severe as scar tissue or as simple as collagen forming between the layers of muscles and knitting them together. This can and will restrict the ability of the layers (muscle, fascia and skin) to slide freely against one another, causing restricted movement and pain.
In simple terms, Foam Rolling or Self Myofascial Release uses a person’s own body weight to massage away adhesions. One could look at it as a way to give oneself a deep massage. The pressure and motion of the foam roller moving over various areas of your body breaks up adhesions that cause muscle tightness and then realigns muscle fibers so they are able to function normally again.
The Benefits of Foam Rolling or Self-Myofascial Release
Improves Flexibility and Mobility.
Using foam rolling techniques or SMR (self-myofascial release), focused pressure is applied on the adhesions which encourage the affected tissues to relax. This results in improved tissue flexibility and joint mobility for expanded range of motion.
2. Improves Blood Circulation and Improves Recovery Time.
Using SMR improves blood circulation throughout the body, therefore oxygen delivery is improved to the cells. This speeds healing nutrients to muscles. Having the body recover faster means you can do more training sessions per month with less accumulated wear and tear.
3. Prevents Likely Injury.
Due to increased mobility, you’ll have improved movement quality and increased range of motion. This helps decrease chance of injury and even improves recovery time after a workout.
4. Relieves Pain.
Using foam rollers puts targeted pressure on the fascia which release trigger points that cause severe muscle aches and joint stress.
5. Improves Lymph Circulation and Removes Toxins.
Foam rolling encourages draining of the lymphatic system thereby eliminating toxins from the body. Since the Lymph system has no pumping system, foam rolling aids this.
6. Saves You Money.
Massages are not cheap and if done weekly, can be a financial drain. Foam rollers offer the same physical benefits for a cheaper price.
How to Foam Roll Properly; “3-M’s”
To achieve maximum benefit from foam rolling, it is important to do it properly.
The tips that you must learn and customize to yourself are the “3-M’s & a T” of muscular and fascial release: Moderate, Manageable, Modify & Time.
Moderate: sensation of uncomfortableness; pain is not necessary at all.
Using your body weight on the foam roller, apply light pressure to specific muscle or muscle groups.
If an area proves too intense, shift the roller to the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the target area.
Manageable: manage to really be relaxed; breathe deeply.
Once on a target area, make every attempt to relax your entire body and ensure that you’re breathing well.
If you feel an especially sensitive spot, spend a little time rolling back and forth until the pain eases. Gentle slow rolling at 1 inch per minute works well for some.
Modify: assess what you’re doing and/or how you’re doing it to get the moderate and manageable part optimal. Again, no pain is necessary.
The typical roller is too big for most; 3 and 4 inch rollers work as well as using 2-4 rollers side by side and can make a huge difference.
Time: Give it enough time, this can’t be rushed.
When you start, it is recommended to spend about 60 seconds to five minutes on each area in which you feel tightness or tenderness.
You are looking for a sensation of release, there should be a noticeable change or you should modify your pressure.
Call Now to Get Started
New Found Strength Fitness and Nutrition offers one-on-one and small group sessions that teach foam rolling and self-myofascial release techniques. Under my expert guidance, achieve results that allow you to increase your comfortable and unrestricted range of motion. You’ll learn techniques that improve and relieve muscle stress that causes discomfort, stiffness and pain.
If you want to be a healthier, fitter version of you, New Found Strength can help. Call me today at 951- 901-8348 and get ready for a pain-free life.
Tags: How To Foam, Roll, Foam Rolling, SMR, Self-Myofascial Release, corrective exercise, fascia, muscle stress, muscle pain, joint pain, range of motion fitness trainer, fitness class