If you work out often, have bad posture or work at a desk all day, you might have knots forming between your muscles and your fascia (a layer of connective tissue found between your skin and muscles). The fascia tissue helps connects your muscles, ligaments and bones to provide support for your whole body. Having these adhesions or ‘knots’ form in your fascia causes a myriad of problems that not only affect your workout performance, but your everyday life. The best way to sort out these knots is to do what is called as foam rolling, a pre or post-workout activity that makes sure you keep those pesky knots away.
The Benefits of Foam Rolling
The first benefit of foam rolling is that it increases your ability to workout. Foam rolling helps improve posture, range of motion and performance. When the knots form between your fascia and muscle, it restricts the overall range of motion for the muscle group in which its located in. This can make the movements in your workout difficult, and sometimes can make normal every-day movements hard too! Ironically, the knots formed by bad posture and unhealthy habits only help create more knots and more bad habits!
Perhaps the biggest benefit of foam rolling is its benefits in recovery. Foam rolling essentially serves as a deep tissue massage, dramatically improving your recovery and helps relieve muscle soreness. Just like compression fit-wear, foam rolling increases blood flow and oxygen to your tissues, helping speed up the recovery process. This will allow you to not only workout better but makes it a bit easier to go to the gym as you won’t have to deal with as much soreness and stiffness.
Foam rolling is also essential in preventing injury and relieving stress. As it relaxes your tight muscles and sorts out the knots, it can help prevent small, nagging injuries. These small injuries are something people overlook and may discourage you from keeping up with your workout schedule. So, it’s important to do everything you can to prevent them, so you don’t fall out of your regular routine.
Foam Rolling Technique
When foam rolling, you’ll want to roll each muscle group individually. With larger muscle groups like your quads, you should section those off into three parts, rolling each part separately. You’ll want to stay relaxed, engage your core and to keep breathing as you roll. A couple minutes on each muscle group should be good, and the rolling itself shouldn’t be too painful.
A lot of people will suggest that foam rolling should be a painful experience, but it shouldn’t! If foam rolling is causing you sharp pains as you’re rolling, then that means you’re putting too much pressure on the roller, you’ll want to release that pressure by activating your core. It’s ok to take breaks as you roll, it isn’t a stamina exercise.
Avoid foam rolling over your joints, bones, lower back and neck. Rolling in these areas can actually damage you and provide no benefit. For most people, foam rolling a couple times a week after your workouts should do the trick, but if you do high-stamina or high-intensity workouts, it’s recommended to foam-roll prior to every workout (especially your quads).
That’s our beginner’s guide to foam rolling! We hope that you can integrate this into your everyday workout routine so you can gain all the benefits of this awesome technique. If you already have some experience foam rolling, check out these advanced rolling techniques.