Foam rollers have been used for decades in physical rehab clinics when it comes to pain management, and, when done correctly, can bring about the same benefits that a professional massage does. If you have never used a foam roller before, here is all you need to know to get started.
Purchasing a Foam Roller
Foam rollers are widely available at the majority of sports stores out there, and can also easily be purchased online. If you have never used a foam roller before, then it would be advisable to purchase a softer roller, designed for beginners, and this should be marked on the packaging, whereas if you are a competitive athlete and really require the extra help, a firmer roller would be the better option for you.
How to Use a Foam Roller
When using a foam roller, there are several different moves that you can do, each one targeting different areas of the body. The majority of moves are best carried out on the floor, with a yoga mat or low-pile carpet to provide a bit of support. The Upper Back Roll requires you to place the roller across your back, so that it is supporting your body, before rolling forwards and backwards slowly, to work on tight muscles along the middle of your back. For painful calves, the Calf Roll is ideal, while those who have been experiencing pain in their hamstrings or glutes should gives the Glutes and Hamstring Roll a try. There are multiple tutorials online for each of these moves, and these will help you to get the hang of all you need to do. With all of these moves, you should be applying a moderate amount of pressure to each muscle group, rolling no more than one inch per second. Each time you come across areas that are particularly tight, pause for several seconds and try to relax. Once you feel the muscles releasing, you can continue to move again.
The Benefits of Foam Rolling
Foam rolling stretches and tones the muscles, while increasing circulation, meaning that a greater amount of nutrients are able to reach all areas of the body, including the muscles, and their surrounding tissue, being worked on. This then helps with the body’s detoxification process, enabling waste to be broken down and eliminated in a far more effective manner. This waste would have otherwise built up within the muscles, causing stiffness and pain. If you often experience areas of tight, knotted muscles, then a foam roller would be able to help with this too, breaking up these bands and providing relief.
After each foam rolling session, you are likely to feel a little sore the next day, as your muscles will have experienced quite the workout. In order to experience maximum benefits, you should try to drink more water than usual after foam rolling, while eating cleanly and getting enough sleep, as all of this will aid in flushing out your system and allowing your muscles to function as effectively as possible.