Are you having muscle pains as you exercise? Or maybe you’re contemplating stopping the exercise altogether. Well, as we grow old, our muscles and joints start to lose their connective tissues and elasticity. Consequently, it’s challenging to do the things you were used to doing. If you’re in this stage, don’t worry, a foam roller is your best solution.
So, why are foam rollers good? Well, just like having some deep tissue massage, the roller works to break out the fibrous tissue that is hampering your blood and lymphatic circulation. Using a foam roller before and after your exercise can significantly help to reduce pain and muscle tension.
In this article, we will be looking at foam rollers, their key benefits and of course how to use them. Let’s get started.
What is a Foam Roller?
So, what is a foam roller anyways? A foam roller is an exercise equipment mainly used to soothe tight and sore muscles. Using a foam roller is easy, but it may require taking up awkward positions.
There are many types of foam rollers, but these five basic types stand out from the rest:
- Low-Density Foam Rollers – These are the softest and lightest foam rollers
- Firm Foam Rollers – These are the hardest and most dense foam rollers
- Medium-Density Foam Rollers – These foam rollers are neither too hard nor too soft, and the intensity of density may vary
- Short Foam Rollers – These foam rollers are about half the average length of a foam roller. They may come in soft or firm densities
- Bumpy Foam Rollers – These foam rollers have an added texture to them. They may feature bumps or ridges on the surface
When Should You Perform Foam Rolling Self-Massage?
Self-massage can give pain relief to any part of your body that needs help. And the convenience, simplicity, and versatility of the foam roller are astonishing. You can easily use the technique to massage and stretch any muscle within your body. These include the upper and lower body muscles, as well as the front and back muscles.
Here is a simple procedure to guide you:
- Locate the sore part of your body
- With the roller on the ground, position the sore part against it
- Hold on steady while applying pressure against the roller and begin to rock back and forth, hence producing a rolling motion
However, to get the most effect out of a foam rolling session, you need to choose the right time to perform them. So when is it best to use a foam roller? It’s advisable that you do the self-massage before and after your exercises.
Foam rolling before the exercises helps warm-up and loosen your muscles. Additionally, the risk of having a muscle injury is also reduced. Warming up before the main exercise trains more muscle fibers thus increasing the effectiveness of your moves and routines.
You’ll also need these exercises after your workouts. They will flush out toxins, waste products, and acids that form on your fatigued joints and muscles during the race. These waste products can also clog your circulation system and therefore, prevent the flow of oxygen and other crucial nutrients.
By removing them, your body muscles are able to recover within the shortest time possible.
Different Foam Rolling Techniques
People have come up with different styles/techniques of foam rolling. However, the recommended techniques are those with proven health benefits. They target specific parts of the body. These are:
- Hip flexors – place the roller under your hips and roll up and down from hip to mid-thigh
- IT Band – place the roller on the side of your hip then role up and down from hip to knee
- Hamstrings – place the roller under your hamstrings then roll back and forth from the butt to the knees
- Glutes – place the roller under your glutes and rock back and forth as far as you can go
- Calves – place the roller under your calves and roll back and forth
- Upper back – lie on the roller with your back and roll back and forth from the upper to mid-back