Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that can help relieve muscle tension, pain and inflammation, and increase joint range of motion. Foam rolling can also be an effective way of warming up or cooling down, before or after exercise. The benefits of this technique are numerous and vary from person to person.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of foam rolling and learn how to incorporate this technique into your routine.
A foam roller is usually cylindrical in shape and made of dense foam, but you can find them in various sizes and shapes and in different levels of firmness. We advise you to try different foam rollers before buying to find the one that is most comfortable for you to use.
We can distinguish several types of foam rollers:
- Smooth rollers are known for having a smooth, dense foam surface. They are best for people new to foam rolling since they are not as intense as textured rollers.
- Textured rollers have smaller or larger bumps on them. They are used to resolve knots and tension.
- Massage sticks covered with thick foam can be used for a deep leg or upper back massage.
- Foam massage balls can be used for targeted areas.
- When choosing a foam roller, also consider the shape and size. A shorter roller is more effective for smaller areas like the arms and calves, and they’re also more portable if you plan to carry it with you.
How to use it?
If you want to try foam rolling in the gym, you can ask a trainer to explain how to use it, and you can find general instructions below:
- Start with light pressure and increase the pressure as you get used to it. You may find foam rolling a bit uncomfortable at first if your muscles are tight.
- To adjust the pressure, reduce the weight you put on the roller. For example, if you are working on your calves, support your body with your hands and take some of your body weight off the roller.
- Slowly roll sensitive areas for 10 seconds to start, then work up to 30 to 60 seconds at a time.
- Drink plenty of water after foam rolling to speed up recovery.
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
- It helps to relax the muscles
Foam rolling can be useful for relieving muscle pain and helping to reduce inflammation.
- Increases range of motion
Foam rolling in combination with regular stretching after training can help increase the range of motion, which is important for flexibility and regular exercise performance.
- It can relieve back pain
It is important to be careful when using a foam roller on your back because you can easily put extra strain on or injure your back. When using a foam roller for lower back pain, turn it so that it is vertical (in line with the spine) and slowly roll it from side to side. You can also try lying on a foam massage ball or tennis ball to get rid of back knots.
- It’s relaxing
Releasing muscle tension can help you feel less tense and be calmer.
As with performing exercises and using equipment at the gym, be careful with foam rolling. Start slowly and patiently and slowly progress and create a routine of stretching and foam rolling.
See you at the gym,
Your Gyms4you team