A foam roller has several different uses but it can be an important addition to your workout routine. Essentially this piece of equipment is a long and spongy cylinder, but it has the ability to massage tight knots using your body weight as pressure.
Whether you work out regularly or have stress-related tension, the foam roller can be a valuable tool in preventing injuries, de-stressing, and increasing flexibility. Although stretching is helpful in lengthening muscles, it does not impact the fascia (tissue) that builds up knots inside of the muscles. Fascia is the connective tissue in your muscles. As these muscles tighten, the fascia move towards a gel-like state or can even become stuck to the muscle causing pain and restricted movement. Using the foam roller to target these knots and put pressure on your muscles encourages the fascia to transform into a more fluid state and allow for the tissue to release between skin, muscle, and bone.
Using the foam roller puts you in control of the amount of pressure, allowing you to find areas in the body that need the most attention. When foam rolling, you are essentially giving yourself a tissue massage using the myofascial release technique to increase blood flow and and circulation to your soft tissue.
- Go slowly! Slow movement or rolling allows for better tissue release.
- Try to roll when you have just worked out, or after a long day at the office
- Focus on the tightest areas of your body first- typically quads, hamstrings, glutes, and back
- Avoid bone or joints, although you can roll all the way up to joints to get maximum results
- Don't roll on your lower back, stay above your lumbar spine
- When you fight a particularly tight area, stay there and put additional pressure there
- Breathe with your movement
Ask your local Dallas personal trainer, Pilates instructor, physical therapist, or other expert about how to effectively use the foam roller in your daily routine.