If you're like me, you might have come up with things like:
Self-massage, Injury prevention, I need to do this more often, but never find the time
Painful, Good for recovery, I know I should, but...
Did you know that today is National Foam Rolling Day?!
I know! There is a national day for everything nowadays. :)
I find the thought of foam rolling to be kind of intimidating. I know there are a ton of benefits, but sometimes I can get caught up in the HOW of it all.
First, let's talk about the WHY.
Benefits of Foam Rolling
I hear the most chatter about the following two benefits:
Aids in Recovery - When done after a long run or tough workout, it can help to remove lactic acid and increase the flow of fresh blood and nutrients to the sore, overworked muscles.
Assists in Healing - Foam rolling can help break up scar tissue caused by overworking your muscles or from injury. Breaking up the scar tissue helps your body heal faster.
So, I really only thought of foam rolling as a post-workout thing or a rest day thing when you feel an injury coming on.
Apparently, it's so much more than that!
- Increases blood flow
- Improves mobility and flexibility
- Prevents injury
- MAKES YOUR WORKOUT MORE EFFECTIVE ⇨ #MindBlown
@EnjoytheCourse came across something interesting - foam rolling isn't just for recovery and injury prevention!
I had never once considered foam rolling as a warm-up to wake up those muscles! By loosening up your muscles beforehand, you're able to go deeper into whatever exercise you're doing. Which in turn will make those exercises more effective!
How to Foam Roll
It's easy right?! Well, remember how I said it was intimidating for me? Was it really as simple as rolling on a roller? I would answer that with a Yes and No.
Yes, that's basically right. Put the roller on the floor and then put your body on the roller and move back and forth.
No, you've got to be sure to maintain good form. For example, when rolling your quads, you're basically in a plank position, so you'll want to keep your butt low and engage your core. You'll also want to be sure to roll nice and slow. Faster, in this case, is not better.
Also, be sure not to spend too much time on those really tight knots or roll directly on a painful area. It's best to roll the muscles that feed into the knots or painful areas to avoid further irritation.
How to Start
It took me quite awhile to even consider giving foam rolling a try. I'm far from an expert (I really only do it sporadically), but here is what I'd recommend to get started.
- Foam rollers are color coded. White are the softest while black are the hardest. When just starting, perhaps go with a white or blue and work up to a green or black.
- Try other similar tools like a foam roller stick, or even just a good old-fashioned rolling pin (but probably not the same one you use in the kitchen, cuz it will be gross after rolling a bit).
- Work on strengthening your core and upper body to assist you in maintaining good form when rolling.
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I still really only dabble with foam rolling and don't take it nearly as seriously as I should. But I'm feeling a bit more inspired to dig out my rollers and make them a bigger part of my workout life - before and after.