Why do it?
Foam rolling, also known as, self-myofascial release has become a widely-used practice in the fitness industry. Simply put, self-myofascial release is just a self-given massage to help release tightness within your muscles. Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles. The goal of foam rolling is to get your muscles back to their normal function. In order for your muscles to function normally they must be elastic, healthy, and performance ready. Self-myofascial release accomplishes the normal function by providing deep compression which helps to break up/relax tight muscles and allowing normal blood flow to return. The importance of foam rolling is basically to take care of our muscles. We must take care of our muscles in order to gain flexibility and strength, prevent injury, and maintain overall health.
How to do it?
The foam roller can be used to target a wide variety of muscles, however there is a general guideline for rolling any muscle. You should apply moderate pressure to the muscle. It’s important to roll that muscle slowly – the speed should remain under an inch per second. If the rolling is done too fast, it will not be effective. When you come across areas of the muscle that are tight or hurt, pause in that position for some additional time, and in about 5-30 seconds the pain should lessen. Ideally you would perform self-myofascial release before and after a workout, as a warm-up and recovery respectively. Before is beneficial because it increases blood flow to prepare your muscles for exertion. Recovery rolling is beneficial because it once again, increases the blood flow, which brings oxygen and nutrients to your muscles improving recovery time.
5 Don’ts of Foam Rolling
- Rolling directly where you feel pain, roll all around muscles
- Rolling too fast
- Spending too much time on the sore spots
- Bad posture when rolling
- Using the foam roller on your lower back
What roller is best for me?
There are three types of densities when shopping for foam rollers: standard, soft, and firm. Standard foam rollers provide a medium density, providing just enough hardness for deep massage while still having moderate cushion. Soft foam rollers are more for those seeking comfort, rather than a deep massage. It still provides a massage, just a much gentler one than its counterparts. The firm roller provides the most intense, deep massage. This is the type of foam roller provided at WildWood if you are interested in adding self-myofascial release into your exercise routine.