Last time I talked about Recovery & Regeneration and this week I wanted to expand on that a little bit. One of the techniques I mentioned last time was foam rolling. So what is foam rolling? Most people would liken it to your own personal massage, which really it kind of is. But how does foam rolling work and why is it so effective for you?
Foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR) works by applying pressure to a specific area and helps to improve your ‘tissue quality’. In order to improve our ‘tissue length’ (which is what flexibility training does) we first need to improve our ‘tissue quality’ by removing adhesions and scar tissue that may be impairing our ‘tissue length’. Foam rolling does just that by helping to break-up scar tissue build-up and adhesions that form from training. Below are some guidelines for foam rolling:
Guidelines for SMR:
1. Use a foam roller, massage stick or tennis ball to apply pressure to areas of the body.
2. Roll at a slow pace for 10-20 repetitions per side.
3. If a severe pain spot is noticed, hold the spot for 30-45 seconds or until the pain
4. Perform pre- and post-workout. Perform as needed on non-training days.
5. Increase intensity by applying more pressure. Stack legs on foam roller; use a partner
with massage sticks.
6. Roll the full length of muscle – from origination to insertion.
7. Static stretch after SMR to increase flexibility.
Like anything in the fitness world, results won’t happen right away, but after only a few sessions you will see acute improvements. Now for those of you that currently foam roll or have tried it in the past, you are right it can hurt a little bit the first few times but this is perfectly normal and something you can control based on how much of your bodyweight you push down on the foam roller with. If you are serious about increasing your flexibility and range of motion than adding foam rolling to your training program is a must!