The Foam Roller
Wouldn’t be nice if you could have a personal massage after every work out? With the hindrance of time and a shortage of cash, this option is an unrealistic luxury. So how can we obtain similar benefits from massage at a very low cost? Enter… the Foam Roller!
If you are a member of FOF you have undoubtedly come across this amazing piece of polystyrene. So what does the foam roller actually do and why is it so beneficial in helping you achieve your fitness goals?
As it is widely known, a stretching routine has many benefits including reduced muscle tension and increased circulation of blood to many parts of body. No matter how much you stretch the build-up of fascia that creates muscles knots will not go away! This can cause you pain, a slow recovery and overall, a lack of motivation to get back in the gym! Without massage or use of a roller, stretching can make these knots tighter! Tie an elastic band in a knot and pull it at both ends and you will see what I mean. A massage with your foam roller makes your muscles longer and smoother by causing these knotty areas in your muscles to be released.
When the body pushes down on the roller, the foam pushes into the muscle and connecting tissues. It pushes deep and loosens muscles, while stimulating circulation in limbs and other body areas. Areas of the body that get good circulation get better oxygen delivery, and this can have a rejuvenating effect. This will have you feeling quite relaxed and stress free – the rolling effect! Along with this manual aid to circulation, there are also secondary effects of massage that help to improve circulation. These involve creating more action in lactic acid deposits that work to improve blood flow, as well as stimulation to lymph elements that push certain toxins through and out of the body.
Are you trying to avoid foam rolling because it can be painful? Especially in the calves, quads and the ligaments of the lliotibial band (ITB), these areas are prone to shortening and are difficult to effectively stretch, but with the roller you can apply deep pressure and lengthen these shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can cause injury. Use less body weight on these areas if you are finding it too uncomfortable, but please stick with it, with regular use the less painful these areas will become. Rolling will really help speed up your recovery getting you back to the gym faster..”YAY!” I hear you shout.
Try to use the foam roller before and after your workout to reap the most benefits! Can’t get enough of the roller? Well many sports shops are stocking them and are easily acquired from Amazon.
FOF Coach Richard Jones