If you’re a serious athlete, you might have heard of a foam roller before. Otherwise if you’re just starting a new sport or an exercise routine you may be wondering what all of the hype is about,
Foam rolling has been gaining quite a bit of popularity these days. So with all of the buzz going around we decided to take a look at what all of the hype is about.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at what a foam roller is, what a foam roller is used for, and the benefits of of foam rolling.
What is a foam roller?
A foam roller is a log made out of soft spongy material that athletes use to roll on their muscle tissues using their body weight.
Foam rollers come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. You can find them in most sporting good stores or anywhere that sells athletic gear.
Smaller foam rollers are used for massaging smaller areas of your body while textured foam rollers are used for more intense massages, if that’s what you prefer.
Using a foam roller is the most popular method for self-myofascial release.
What is self-myofascial release?
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is essentially, self massage.
Foam rolling is a technique that you can use to give yourself a deep tissue massage. It is an easy way to get the same benefits that you would normally get from a regular massage but is something that you can do for free and at a time that is most convenient for you.
It helps relax contracted muscles, improves blood circulation, as well as helps stretch tense muscles.
For years therapists have been using human hands to massage the soft-tissue in the body, to increase muscle flexibility. However, now with the invention of the foam roller, you can now get all of the same benefits but in the comfort of your own home.
Ideally, foam rolling is most beneficial when it’s done pre and post workout. However, most people recommend doing it before your workout at the very least.
What are the benefits of using a foam roller?
1. Foam rolling improves flexibility
Self-myofascial release helps increase blood flow to your muscles, which helps improve movement and gives you an increased sense of motion.
Releasing muscle tightness, makes you more flexible which can contribute to better performance during exercise and while playing sports.
2. Foam rollers improve function
As you apply pressure to specific points of your body during foam rolling, it aids in the recovery of muscles, helping them function normally.
Normal function means that the muscles are healthy and elastic, and ready to perform at any given moment.
3. Foam rolling can improve performance
Another benefit of using a foam roller, especially before your workout, is the improved athletic performance you can see immediately during your workout.
With improved flexibility and function, you are bound to perform better as an athlete during your workout training session or competition.
4. Foam rolling can help reduce the chance of injury
Since many injuries can be avoided by stretching properly then taking the time to use a foam roller before you exercise can save you a lot of pain and frustration.
According to Dr. Bryan Hill, physical therapist, “The key is being proactive. Don’t get the foam roller and then leave it in your garage.”
5. Foam rolling decreases recovery time after an injury
By using a foam roller, you can benefit from a decreased recovery time post injury. If, while working out or playing sports you injure yourself, the time it takes to recover might seem like an eternity.
When foam rolling, you release muscle tension and gain flexibility. In doing so, the extra muscle flexibility helps speed up the healing process and quickly returns the muscles back to normal function.
6. Foam rolling is affordable
If you’ve ever paid for a massage to help with a nagging injury, or just to help your tired muscles you know how expensive it can be. Unfortunately, regular massages aren’t sustainable for the average person as the cost of regular massages can quickly add up.
Fortunately, you only have to pay for a foam roller once and then you can use it to get all of the benefits without the time, cost, and possible awkwardness of a traditional massage.
If you're looking to improve your muscle flexibility or want to receive any of the benefits mentioned above without breaking the bank on a traditional massage then consider giving foam rolling a try.