Foam rollers are a real boon to all athletes and fitness enthusiasts. With a properly-employed foam roller, you can massage weary muscles, help reduce tension in muscles and joints and assist your body in its essential repair tasks. Many people who own foam rollers do not use them properly. Certainly there are many applications of this reasonably recent addition to the fitness arsenal, but there are also some common pitfalls you should learn to avoid.
1. Rolling on Tender Fascia
Though little discussed, we all have fascia. It’s a kind of band or sheet of connective tissue to attach and separate muscles.
With significant exercise and the passage of time, your muscles breakdown and buildup. This varying process can indirectly cause the fascia associated with the muscle groups to shorten which can create painful areas around your muscles, particularly at junctures.
The tricky part of using the foam roller to decrease this fascia-triggered pain is that rolling on the fascia can irritate and increase rather than decrease inflammation. Additionally, though you feel the pain in the fascia, the root of the pain is your tense muscles.
To correctly address this problem, start rolling from the base of your muscles toward the sore fascia and once you feel some relaxation of the muscles, continue the roll to include the fascia. This should be soothing rather than painful and will help address the original problem correctly.
2. Rolling Fast
Most of us roll too quickly. Muscles and fascia are dense masses. Your efforts gradually penetrate, so for best results, you have to invest some time in the process, not just total time, but take time with each pass of the foam roller – move deliberately and apply pressure – this is how you work deeply.
3. Concentrating on a Single Area Too Long
So, you have your foam roller out and you are moving it in long, slow strokes over your muscles and fascia. You detect sore sections and invest a little extra time in trying to improve those sections – all good. However, many people go too far and spend minute after minute rolling those tender spots – not too good. Give sore spots a little extra time and then move on before irritating them. In multiple sessions in a day or over a week, you can invest sufficient total time in those areas.
4. Form Lapse
You are interested in working out, you’ve invested time learning the proper form for different activities. Now apply that to foam rolling. While using the foam roller, support your core; if you twist, support your back and don’t hold an uncomfortable position too long. You may want to review your form in a mirror or even take a video of your form so you don’t cause problems while trying to correct them.
Maybe this foam roller process is starting to sound a little complicated – no denying, there is more to it than most people think. However, done correctly, you can reap multiple benefits so it is worth doing correctly.