Foam Rolling: Your New Best Friend

foam roller and sneakers

Raise your hand if your muscles get really sore after working out and stretching just isn't cutting it. 

Cool, me too. That's why I want to tell you about your new best friend – a foam roller. Foam rolling is really just convenient self-myofascial release that can be done everyday by people at all levels of fitness. Self-myofascial release, in less complicated terms, is really just massaging your muscles to relieve tightness or trigger points. It can also be done with your hands or a lacrosse ball, but a foam roller makes things easy!

So when your legs are pretty much useless after your leg workout from yesterday, you can use a foam roller to apply pressure to your sore muscles and help them recover faster. Recovering faster means normally functioning legs and not crying every time you have to sit down. (Or go up stairs, which is the worst).

Really, though, foam rolling makes sure that your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to go!

Foam rolling can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal to any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning, as if nothing was ever wrong.

But to give you fair warning, it's not a 100% pleasant experience. (It maybe like 89%).

Any kind of deep compression on your muscles is going to feel a little uncomfortable. Especially if you have any trigger points, which are like knots in your muscles. You might feel some (bearable) pain while foam rolling, but you'll feel relief after! (If its more than just an uncomfortable feeling, and actual pain, you should stop and see a doctor!)

So, you want to try it? Here's what to do:

Take 5-10 minutes before or after your workout to try these moves.

Calves: Sit on the floor and lay your calf over the foam roller. Move your leg forward and backward so the foam roller rolls from your ankle to below the knee. Rotate your leg from side to side to get all angles of your calf muscle!

IT Band: Lay on your side with the roller under your hip. Cross your top leg in front and rest your foot on the ground for balance (like you're going to do inner-thigh leg lifts). Roll through your entire outer thigh.

Glutes: Sit on the roller with one knee bent and the other ankle crossed over that knee. (You typically sit like this to stretch your glutes). Lean onto one hip and roll front to back.

Hamstrings: Place the roller under your thighs and roll from your knees to your butt.

Quads: Lay on your stomach with the roller under the front of your thighs. Slowly roll from the top of your hip to right above your knee. (This one is usually pretty uncomfortable).

Now you know what to do, so you obviously need to go out and get a foam roller. Theres a few different kinds you can try: 

Low-density foam rollers have some give so there's less pressure. This is the cheapest option and good for beginners, but the shape will wear out over time.

High-density foam rollers have a firmer surface and will last a few years.

The most intense foam rollers are made of high-density foam that is wrapped around a plastic pipe. This is the one that I have!


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