So, you foam roll, right? Crossfitters, runners, gymnasts, masochists…everybody’s doing it. We even sell them in our clinics! Foam rollers are amazing tools to combat injury, speed recovery and improve performance by breaking up adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue…but only if you use them correctly. Here are 5 quick tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your roller:
ROLL AROUND THE PAIN: sometimes it can feel good to knead a sore muscle, but rolling directly where you feel pain can lead to an increase in inflammation in that area. When you hit a tender spot, ease off and roll the area a few inches around it first, using large sweeping motions. Using a tight IT band as an example: roll the glutes and outer hip muscles first to help loosen things up before you go hammer where it hurts.
ROLL SLOW HOMIE: you need to slow it down while you’re foam rolling, to give your brain a chance to tell those tight muscles to chill out. Use short, slow rolls over tender spots where adhesions live.
ROLL FOR SECONDS: pressing hard and spending 5-10 minutes on each knot? You could cause bruising or hit a nerve. Try for 20 seconds on your sore spot, then move on. It’s better for your body, and will save you some time too.
ROLL WITH GOOD POSTURE: YES, good posture is ALWAYS important. ALWAYS. Any of our physiotherapists would be happy to help make sure your foam rolling posture is on point, or video yourself and watch it afterwards to check your alignment.
ROLL YOUR UPPER BACK…AND YOUR LOWER BACK MUSCLES: healthy spine = happy life, so don’t go making yours cranky by foam rolling up on it! It’s safe to roll from the bottom of your rib cage up, but when it comes to the lower back only roll along the sides of your spine NOT on it! You might also find release for your lower back by rolling your piriformis, hip flexors and rectus femoris.
No matter how or why you are using a foam roller, make sure to understand the origin of your pain first. Again, our physiotherapists can totally help with that! If you know what you are trying to achieve, you’re in much better shape of rolling the right way to get there.
To get the most benefit from your foam roller you’ll have to put in the work – consistency is key! Your pain-free, supple body will thank you. So get out there and get rolling!