Foam Rolling 101
- By Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown
- April 10, 2016
Foam Rolling has become one of the best additions to your fitness routine. If you haven’t heard about all the benefits of foam rolling, you’ve been missing out. Here’s why: not only are they an effective tool for recovery and injury prevention, but they can also aid in muscle sculpting and definition.
Here’s a rundown on 4 of the Major benefits of Foam rolling:
- Is one of the best ways to perform myofascial release and have drastic and usually very immediate impact on both performance and overall health.
- Performed prior to working out gives you increased blood flow to your muscles, improving delivery of oxygen during your workout
- Helps to relieve muscle tension, especially after a hard workout and decrease recovery time, also decreasing soreness.
- Increases range of motion. It can lengthen and stretch your muscles.
A 5-10 minute pre-workout foam rolling session is worth a shot. So make sure you do it correctly.
Here are 4 easy ways to work and score maximum benefits.
1. Pick the best foam roller for your body type
White rollers are the least dense and have the most surface area which feels easier on the muscles and fascia. Once you have been foam rolling awhile you can progress onto more firm rollers, like black, or blue. There are models with nubs, studs and grids which give you major pressure and intensity during foam rolling. Use a ball for tough to get places like your hips and lower back. Tennis balls work great for lower back muscles, and you can work up to smaller more dense balls like golf balls if you’re wanting more intensity.
2. Hone In
First roll out your entire body but then, if you’re a runner, perhaps focus on your IT band or hips. If you’re a biker you might want to focus on your quads or glutes. If you are generally feeling like you want to loosen up, you can pick 1 or 2 spots and try to focus more on those to get a better result.
3. Find Tight Spots
When you find a knot, roll over it, going back and forth about 20-30 times and contracting it over and over. IF it doesn’t relax, go below the muscle or directly over it, says Dr. Bruning Brown. If you have tightness in other places, it may keep the muscle from relaxing.
4. Start Smart
If you start exercise with a little Foam rolling (10-15 minutes), it will lead to less fatigue according to recent published research. Not only that rolling out your feet and under your heels with tennis balls can release tension and help you feel more stable.