How to promote recovery with foam rolling?
Sore muscles after working out in the gym, running or just being on your feet all day?
Sports massage is a great idea and a good therapist can help but are you able to see someone often enough?
Nearly if not all therapists and trainers recommend foam rolling regularly for injury prevention, better recovery and staying pain-free.
The foam roller can be your solution to restoring movement when it gets hard to bend after training your legs or painful to walk after running. You can do so many things with a good roller to most of your body parts to help it recover but first let's talk about what the foam roller does to you.
What is a foam roller?
Here is a great definition from foam-roller.com:
"Foam rollers are exercise devices used for massage and fitness. While usually long and cylindrical, they come in many shapes, sizes and varying textures. When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas (known as “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is also called myofascial release."
In short foam rollers help to release restriction get rid of trigger (pain) points. They can be used a number of different ways and there are 3 main techniques we can use to get the best results with this piece of kit.
So what to consider when getting a good foam roller?
The fact is that effective sports massage hurts but it hurts in a weird way. When you feel the pain it tells you not to stop because you can immediately tell that it is releasing something. Well that's your trigger point and it is uncomfortable to get rid off but once it's gone you will feel much better. The best rollers you can get have slightly harder surface and some sort of spikes. smaller diameter can be great but you can actually get multiple options as they don't take much space.
You can also use the ones your gym provides but if you want to benefit from having one at home that you can use after a long day click here to get a great value for your money on Amazon for only £10.93 much less then you would get it in the shops most likely.
In this video, you can learn how to use the foam roller on your legs to get rid of tightness and restore ranges of movement.
To get the most out of your roller read below the 3 main techniques you can do with your roller and a video below on how to apply these techniques to your legs.
Contract Relax (CR): While applying pressure with the roller contract the tight tissue for 5 seconds and release for 10 seconds while keeping the pressure on the foam roller. This will allow the roller to enter the tissue deeper as the muscles relax.
Pressure Wave (PW): rolling up and down on the roller in small going over the body part 3-4cm at a time. This is the most common form of foam rolling where most people use the foam roller. This technique is much more efficient after a few rounds of CR on the stiff area.
Smash & Floss (SF): This technique is great to finish your rolling round. Once you've identified an area that is more painful than others you have found a trigger point. After going through a few rounds of CR and PW try rubbing the tissue against the roller side to side. For this technique, it's best to use a roller with spike bits as you are trying to restore the sliding function of the tissue meaning you want the roller to hold the tissue while you are getting it unglued from the harder surfaces, your bones.
An area should take you somewhere between 2-5 minutes depending on how much work is there to be done and believe me once you get effective on the roller you will feel how much you need to do and the amazing benefits of doing self-service sports massage on a regular basis.
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