I’m sure you’ve seen them at your gym. People rolling and contorting their bodies on this foam cylinder, and you think “what does that even do?”
A foam roller is a very helpful tool that helps your body recover and can help to prevent injury. When you use the foam roller it digs into muscles to release tension, specially Self-myofascial release. It a massage technique that require longer low pressure on a muscle until it releases and the mobility and tissue are restore to their proper form. A foam roller allows you to have this type of massage by yourself.
- Increased blood flow throughout the body
- Better movement and increased range of motion.
Ideally foam rolling should be down both during your warmup and your cool down. It’s so important to get your body prepared for a lift and to stretch after a workout!
Now why does it hurt?
Now if you’ve tried foam rolling and feel like you are almost forced to tears, chances are you are doing it right AND you really need it. Similar to the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you release you should feel looser.
How do I do it?
I like to start with my calves and work my way up to my hamstrings. Then I move to IT bands (which usually hurt a lot because I hold a lot of tension in my hips). When I find a spot that’s tight I hold in place and bend my knee to increase the pressure. Then I move onto my quads and then inner thigh. Then the other leg – IT band, quad and inner thigh. After that I sit on the foam roller rolling over my glutes sometimes crossing my leg putting my ankle to my opposite knee to dig in deeper, switch sides. At the end I lay on the foam roller in line with my spine and up my arms up like a touchdown signal and am just still for about a minute (which is actually really long time to be still). I usually feel my shoulder and neck tension release and a great sense of calming to do nothing for a minute.
This is just my routine. There are many ways to foam roll you can what works for when you consistently include foam rolling into your workout regime.
Here are some pictures!
I promise after a week or two of consist foam rolling your body will recover faster and your muscles will be looser over all!
references here and here