Is Foam Rolling Worth Our Time?

Foam rolling is a technique to help improve our tissues that we can all do ourselves. This technique can help address inflammation, muscle tightness, soreness, and can even improve range of motion.

While the benefits of foam rolling can differ from person to person, we recommend practicing it both before and after your training regimine.

How does it help?

  • Muscle pain

Sore muscles and reducing inflammation are the first 2 big areas that can benefit.

study that we reference all the time found evidence that foam rolling after exercise may help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness. The participants in the study foam rolled for 20 minutes after their work-out and also 24 and 48 hours after exercising.The study concluded that delayed-onset muscle soreness was reduced when compared to the control group which did not foam-roll. Physical performance was also better than those who did not foam-roll.

  • Range of motion (ROM)

ROM is important for both performance and flexibility. Another study that we mention to our friends concluded that a combination of stretching AND foam rolling was most effective for increasing ROM. This was compared to static stretching or foam rolling alone.

Get to know your body and figure out the right combination of stretching/foam-rolling before and after for each of your training sessions.

  • Cellulite

Fascia is a huge element that helps connect the tissues in our body and it's been found to contribute to the appearance of cellulite. Foam rolling not only help massage and break down abnormalities in your muscled - it can also help loosen and break up your fascia.

Further research is needed to confirm how well foam-rolling assists with cellulite, but our anecdotal results have been great! 

  • Relaxation

At the end of the day, foam rolling is a modified way to give yourself a massage.

 

Once you've worked through all the big issues in your tissues - you will likely find foam rolling to be relaxing. This makes for a great activity to do at night when you're winding down and getting ready for bed.

  • Safety

While foam rolling is largely considered safe to do if you experience muscle tightness or regularly exercise, you always want to listen to your body and never push yourself any further than needed. For serious injuries, you'll want to avoid this activity until your PT/MD has approved.

We should also be mindful when rolling over joints since there is less muscle tissue at this locations and hyper extension could occur. 

How to

  • Listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard. If you're feeling 9/10 levels of pain, you're putting too much pressure.

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  • If you're looking for a really cheap way to start - find a 2-3 ft PVC pipe that is 4 inches in diameter. Wrap a yoga mat around it. With the yoga mat fully wrapped, you will have the most amount of cushion/padding. As you desire more pressure, start unrolling the mat. 

  • Hunt. Yes, hunt for those trigger points. When you find them, pause and breath! In particular EXHALE. Exhaling will help your body and muscles relax and you will literally feel the tissues release.

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  • Hydrate!!!! Drink lots of H20 to help your body recover from a good foam rolling session.