Foam Rolling: Dos and Don'ts
By Sara Butler
Foam rolling can be a great part of your post-workout routine. But sometimes the stretches and exercises associated with foam rollers are done wrong. This can result in slower recovery and can basically waste your time. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind the next time you get out your foam roller.
What is Foam Rolling?
When you use a foam roller, you’re basically providing your own myofascial release treatment. It helps to relax contracted muscles that can result from exercise. Those knots you sometimes feel in your muscles? Those are the result of tiny tears in the muscle fiber that can occur during exercise. They might create adhesions that form the knots and leave you feeling all tied up. Using a foam roller helps to lengthen and smooth tight muscles, increasing circulation and promoting recovery.
To use a foam roller the right way, you should:
- Use for recovery – After your exercise, roll out sore muscles to help speed up the recovery process and get your body ready to work out again.
- Slow down – Foam rolling is not a race, so don’t zip through it. Go slow and really feel what muscles you’re working on. Roll over each area five or so times and pause if you hit a spot that feels as if it needs a release.
- Focus on the sensitive spots – Ideally, you want to target all areas of the body, but don’t be afraid to spend a little more time on the tender spots until that tenderness eases a bit.
- Drink water – Staying hydrated will help your muscles to recover quicker, so make sure to drink water as you foam roll!
There are a few things to avoid when you’re using a foam roller, such as:
- Underestimating them – Foam rolling isn’t just for elite athletes. Anyone can use them at any time.
- Focusing only on sore spots – While it feels good to roll out sore spots, you should make sure to give all your muscle groups attention. It will help build flexibility all over.
- Thinking they’re all created equal – Not all foam rollers are the same. Low-density rollers provide less pressure while high-density rollers will provide more pressure. Choose the right one for you.
- Ignoring pain – If you’re in pain when you use a foam roller, that’s not good. Foam rolling can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Foam rolling can be a great part of your fitness routine if you know how to do it right!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Snellville, Ga.