Foam rollers seem to be all the rage these days. If you haven’t used one before, or you’ve tried it out and it hurt, you might wonder why they are so popular.
Foam rollers were designed to facilitate self-myofascial release. The body’s soft tissue is comprised of not only muscles, tendons, and ligaments, but also a very thick and large web of connective tissue called fascia. This soft tissue can sometimes get irritated and adhere together, either from direct trauma, repetitive stress, or even postural imbalance.
Once an area stiffens up from these adhesions, your body’s range of motion will start to diminish. This can also decrease mobility in some of your joints. This stress and stiffness can increase the risk of injuries.
By foam rolling regularly, you can work out these adhesions to help improve your body’s mobility. This improved mobility can increase your performance in athletic endeavors, and help reduce pain from any bad postural habits.
Foam rollers are a quick and easy tool that can be used on a daily basis to not only rehab injuries, but to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. Rolling out major muscle groups is a great way to start a workout, because it helps warm up the tissues. You can also use it to end your workout because it will help increase flexibility of an area that’s already warm from exercise.
The most important thing to remember when you are rolling is to keep a nice slow, controlled pace. Using your body’s weight, you can make this as easy or as challenging as you’d like. You should spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each muscle group you roll out, depending on how tight and restricted the tissue is in that area. The more often you use the roller, the easier it will get.
At Airrosti, we utilize foam rolling everyday in our offices with our patients to help rehab injured areas of the body. In Part 2 of this article, we’ll talk about specific foam rolling exercises, as well as great exercises you can do prior to your WOD to warm your body up.