What is foam rolling? Why should you be doing it? Foam rolling is a form of self massage, in medical terms self-myofascial release. It is used to increase flexibility or release restrictions referred to as knots, trigger points or adhesions. These restrictions are points in the muscle or fascia which can cause or refer pain to other parts in your body. For example, if you are a runner and you feel tight in your hips, you may often feel as if there is a ‘knot’ in your butt (gluteus). This ‘knot’ or tightness in the muscle region can be causing pain into your back or even pain into your knees. By self massaging this area with a foam roller, you may often be able to increase the flexibility of the muscle, hence decreasing the pain and/ or tightness in muscle and surrounding areas.
So how do you foam roll? Compression created by placing your body weight on the foam roller can break up the tightness or knots in your muscle/tissue. In order to foam roll properly, apply mild to moderate pressure to the specific area you want to foam roll. If the direct pressure is too much or painful, you should shift the roller in order to decrease the amount of pressure on the roller. Once you get the correct amount of pressure, slowly roll your body over the desired area. Do not roll more than a few inches per second. When you feel restrictions, pause for a second or two in order to aid in the muscle/tissue restriction releasing. Most restrictions will start to release after rolling on the area for about 30 seconds. This self-massage or release will help with restoring proper blood flow and re-alignment of the muscle/ tissue being worked on. This can improve flexibility, muscular function/ performance and increase range of motion