You’ve probably seen a foam roll in your gym or on television recently as these simple yet extremely effective tools have become mainstream in the fitness world.
Foam rolls come in all shapes, sizes, densities and of course price ranges. The biggest difference you’ll find is the density or hardness of the roller, and this is what will affect the intensity of your soft tissue session. A soft (usually white) foam roll will be adequate for most beginners and provides a very mild intensity compared to that of a hard/firm (usually black) roll.
What exactly does a foam roll do?
Usage of a foam roll, trigger point kit, or any other form of self-massage is used to promote tissue health while improving recovery and reducing the likelihood of injury. This form of self-massage is often called myofascial release. Fascia is the soft tissue component of connective tissue and can be found covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. Think of fascia as a giant spider’s web that is connected through your entire body. It provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle.
We run into problems when the soft tissue becomes restricted due to disease, overuse, trauma, or inactivity. These restrictions can cause inflammation, pain, muscle tension, reduced range of motion, and diminished blood flow through the entire body.
- Identify target muscle or muscle group
- Roll the entire length of the muscle
- Adjust pressure/weight as needed
- Pause rather than roll areas of extreme pain (30 – 45 sec)