Firstly, who doesn’t want a personal masseuse on hand to give your thighs a rub down? Foam rolling is fast becoming an essential part of many gym goers’ warm-downs and recovery routines.
The foam cylinder is used to self-massage pressure points to relieve muscle tension and pain. The long-term benefits include better circulation, more flexibility, improved spinal health and less stress.
“According to The American College on Exercise (ACE) the benefits are often compared to getting a massage, because as you roll on it, fibrous tissue is broken down and circulation is boosted, helping to relieve tension and pain” Virgin Active’s National Product Development Manager, Ceri Hannan states.
Whether you’re already a firm believer or just curious, here are five essential basics about using a foam roller.
Use the right roller
Ultra-firm, dense rollers are made for fast relief for very tense muscles, while softer and less dense rollers are for gentle use over a prolonged period. The latest Grid rollers have indented surfaces to target trigger points.
Post-workout is best
There’s a common misconception that foam rolling can be done as a warm-up but it causes muscles in the body to relax, which is not necessarily best before workouts.
Do the foam rolling post-workout, once muscles are warm and ready to be pressured. Alternatively, try it at the end of the day to unwind before bed.
Foam rolling also works as a daily de-stressing tool, even if you haven’t worked out.
Take it slow
Resist the urge to do quick, fast-paced movements over the roller. This could cause more injury or inflammation.
Spend about 60 seconds on each tight area, roll slowly, and adjust the pressure if you need more relief.
Watch your posture
It’s important to maintain good form while doing foam roller exercises. Bad posture can cause injury or make muscle tension worse.
It’s best to learn how to use a foam roller with a personal trainer or to use the mirror at your gym to monitor your posture.
Commitment is required
Repeated exercise is necessary to truly feel the benefits of foam rolling so try and make it a habit. It only takes ten to fifteen minutes a day and the rewards are well worth it.