A foam roller is a recovery and performance tool that offers an effective and affordable way to get a deep tissue massage. The process of foam rolling releases painful knots and stimulates blood flow in order to enhance your performance and speed up the healing process. During your exercise routine, your instructor might include a foam roller in the warm-up session or after you are done with your training. Or, perhaps you’ve been experiencing some muscle tightness and have been advised to use a foam roller. But what exactly is a foam roller and what are the benefits of using one?
Why do we need to warm up before exercising?
The purpose of warm-up exercises is to improve circulation and loosen up your muscles and joints. Preparing the body for exercise means you are less likely to injure yourself.
Why do we feel sore after working out?
The technical term for this is DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. You experience DOMS because exercising can cause microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. The muscle tissue then becomes inflamed, which causes the feeling of muscle soreness.
So, how does foam rolling help with warming-up and muscle soreness?
Foam rolling is considered to be a self-manual therapy technique, which provides myofascial release, increases flexibility and your range of motion. Plus, foam rolling also helps alleviate the delayed onset of muscle soreness.
What exactly is myofascial pain?
Myofascial pain syndrome is the term used to describe pain and inflammation in the muscles and the fascia. The fascia is a connective, fibrous tissue that covers the muscles.
And what’s myofascial release?
A myofascial release massage consists of applying gentle pressure on the muscles. It is believed that applying gentle pressure makes the muscle’s tissue softer. The tightness of the muscles affects the range of motion (a measurement of the amount of movement around a specific joint).
What effect does this have on exercising?
Pre-workout foam rolling makes your muscles feel less tight and more flexible, and post-workout foam rolling reduces the feeling of delayed onset of muscle soreness.
Who should use a foam roller?
Besides practicing foam rolling to prevent exercise-related injuries and to recover faster after a workout, you might consider using a foam roller for the following:
- Reduce chronic back pain – Foam rolling can help alleviate pain by reducing inflammation and massaging the muscles.
- Reduce tightness of the muscles – If you have to sit for extended periods of time, for example, if you have an office job, a foam roller might help with those feelings of stiffness.
- Relax – If you are feeling tense and stressed all the time, a muscle massage can help with that. Relaxing your muscles will make your body more relaxed, thus it will provide you with a good night’s sleep.