You’ve work your body hard, you’re sore...maybe you can’t move!? How do you get your body to work again?...Foam roll...
Foam rolling is a form of self massage that breaks up the muscle and fascia (the layer of connective tissue encasing the body). It is crucial if you’ve had an intense workout and need to recover as it loosens up these areas, gets the blood flowing and helps restore your normal range of motion.
Like everything else in health and fitness, the key is consistency. The more you roll the easier it gets, and the more your range of motion is restored. The research shows that foam rolling does TEMPORARILY increase range of motion and decrease the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after training. It also reveals that this “effect” may continue with consistent daily foam rolling post workout. Again, the key here is to do a little every day to help restore and maintain optimum range of motion and decrease pain and muscle soreness post exercise. This has been my experience.
If possible find a professional to assess your body and help you determine which areas require the most attention for you. A rehab specialist, massage therapist or personal trainer can give you appropriate corrective exercises to suit your body. If you’re unable to locate someone, find a simple series like the series in my video below and experiment.
Stick with the big muscles: glutes, quads, hamstrings, TFL/IT band, calf muscles, lats. Stay between the joints and AVOID any BONY areas. Roll the length of the muscle SLOWLY and search for tender spots. When you find one gently oscillate or hold on that area for about 15 to 30 seconds until the discomfort begins to subside. Repeat every 24 to 48 hours.
It should be uncomfortable but never painful. Don't forget to BREATHE! The idea is to relax the body. Also, don't go too crazy, you don't want to aggravate anything. If the discomfort doesn't begin to subside, shift to the surrounding area or give it a rest and move on to another spot. Remember, it’s about consistency, not intensity or duration...short bouts often.
Do it as a part of a morning routine, after you work out or before you go to bed. It is often discouraged to roll before training, though I will when I need to restore range of motion like when I’m really sore. I’ll do a general warm up, foam roll, and then perform a specific warm up for the lifts I’m about to perform.
You can increase or decrease the intensity by increasing or decreasing the surface area of the roller in contact with the body or by increasing or decreasing the amount of weight placed on the roller. For example, if the soft foam roller just isn’t cutting it anymore, switch to a harder one or use something like a Supernova from Rogue Fitness to really dig into those tissues. You can also change the position of your body to place more weight onto the roller.
Foam rolling is a great tool. If you are at all like me you probably don’t do it enough. Take care of that soft tissue! As the workout intensity increases so should your soft tissue care. I recommend regular massage therapy and frequent foam rolling to most of my clients. The more intensely you train the more frequent care you need.
Try the series below and let me know what you think...
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