Benefits of Foam Rolling & How to Do it Correctly
The effects of foam rolling have taken over the fitness industry by storm – and for all the good reasons! This fairly new stretching technique works in wondrous ways to help muscles relax after a sweaty workout or cardio exercise.
When an individual uses a foam roller, it helps in releasing myofascial. Several self-myofascial release benefits include feeling good and relaxing the muscles. Easily accessible at your local gyms and sporting goods outlets, a foam roller is a great low-priced investment.
The benefits of foam rolling are many for both high and low-intensity workouts. It helps in improving flexibility, relaxing tense muscles after a workout, reducing pain, muscle recovery and more. Within a few minutes, your fatigued muscles will feel light and you will have a good night's sleep.
To understand how foam rollers work, it is important to understand what myofascial release is.
What is Myofascial Release?
In simple terms, myofascial release is your body’s response to myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is chronic pain, which originates in the tissues supporting your muscles. These tissues are called myofascial tissues and they tighten up and become highly sensitive causing muscle pain. This commonly occurs after an intensive workout session.
Myofascial tissues are everywhere in your body as they support all muscle groups. However, the pain originates from specific points within the tissues and these are called trigger points. Myofascial release targets tightness and sensitivity by relaxing them and ultimately reducing muscle pain. Keep in mind that the trigger points are not easy to identify, therefore, myofascial release targets a broad area of muscle and tissue.
Usually, a massage therapy session encourages the release of myofascial and helps reduce the pain. However, using a foam roller can effectively release myofascial. The density and structure of foam rollers vary from one to another but all are equally effective when used correctly.
Self-Myofascial Release Benefits
There are several benefits of myofascial release. These include:
Rebalancing of muscles by reducing tissue inflammation.
The range of motion is greatly improved with the elimination of tissue sensitivity.
Neuromuscular efficiency is greatly improved.
Improves and hastens tissue recovery.
Reduced soreness of tissues.
Suppresses and relaxes the trigger points, which reduces the pain.
Decreases the overall muscle stress, therefore, improving movement.
Benefits of Rolling
The benefits of rolling are more than just relaxing the muscles and improving movement. Foam roller benefits cellulite by temporarily reducing its appearance in the body. This happens because of the impact on the body’s connective tissues that are responsible for the appearance of cellulite.
So, does foam rolling reduce cellulite?
So far, there is no scientific evidence to prove that foam rolling can reduce cellulite. However, rolling does temporarily help to smooth out the skin but does not permanently reduce cellulite. The only way to reduce cellulite is to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Correct Way of Foam Rolling
Since the benefits of foam rolling are many, it is important to understand how it should be done correctly. The following tips are great for a start:
Begin with light pressure and increase gradually.
Target specific muscles and muscle groups and roll for about 30 seconds.
Focus on the trigger points and roll slowly with appropriate pauses along the way.
Take deep breaths and relax during the process.
In case of intense pain at a trigger point, stop immediately.
Mistakes to Avoid When Foam Rolling
When using a foam roller for the first time, people often make mistakes. Make sure to avoid the following for a great foam rolling experience.
Do not roll quickly; this should be done slowly and gradually.
Avoid applying too much pressure, start with slight pressure and gradually increase the intensity.
Be careful not to focus on the wrong muscle groups. Foam rolling is best for targeted muscles and works best on taught and sensitive areas.
Make sure you relax during the massage. When you let the foam roller do its job, it is only then can you benefit from foam rolling.
Be careful to take long deep breaths. Deep breathing during a massage helps in muscles to relax and you reap its maximum benefits.
Make sure you drink enough water after every foam rolling session. Foam rolling often causes the muscles to swell which requires fluids for recovery. For optimum results, stay hydrated.
Avoid rolling on tight knots and spots that cause pain. This can only result in aggravating the problem that increasing pain. The best way to go about it is rolling on the surrounding muscles.
Do not skip days of foam rolling. Like any other physical activity, foam rolling should be done with consistency for optimum results. For the best results, use a foam roller every day.
Foam Rolling for the First Time
The benefits of foam rolling are possible to achieve from the first use. All you have to do is ensure that you do it slowly and with less intensity. If you feel pain at any point, it is a sign that you need to stop. Sometimes, your painful trigger points need a specialist.
Although you must ease into the painful areas if the pain becomes unbearable, you must stop immediately. Usually, the sign of successful foam rolling is when the sensitivity quickly decreases and you feel comfortable soon after.
Foam Roller Types
Foam rollers come in all sizes and firmness with variations in the exterior texture. Each one has the aim of yielding different results. Depending on your needs and the muscles you want to target, you can choose from one of the following:
Low-Density & Soft Foam Rollers
This is a great option for beginners and those with highly sensitive muscle groups.
High-Density & Firm Foam Rollers
These rollers are efficient for putting more pressure on the targeted areas of the body.
Textured Foam Rollers
Textures allow the foam roller to target muscles with accuracy. These textures are usually knobs, ridges, or grids.
Travel Foam Rollers
Travel foam rollers are small in size, which makes them ideal for traveling. The size is great for your calves and arms.
Foam Rollers with a Vibrator
Modern foam rollers come with a vibrating option. This deeply loosens the muscles and relaxes the knots that can increase your muscle flexibility and range. Sometimes, physicians also recommend these foam rollers for quicker muscle recovery and better blood circulation.
Cold & Heat Foam Rollers
For intensive muscle recovery, the cold and heat foam rollers help in relieving discomfort quickly and relaxing the muscles more effectively.
The act of foam rolling cannot be fully understood until done yourself. It is almost like popping little bubbles within the muscles that release built-up pain. Although it can be painful to start, once you get the hang of it, you will be surprised at how satisfying it can be.
Whether you have intense workouts at the gyms or simply a hectic schedule that tires you, the answer is a foam roller. It relaxes the muscles in any part of the body and instantly makes you feel lighter. As a result, you feel less fatigued and more refreshed for the next day and all the challenges it brings.