Foam Rolling: Benefits of Self Myofascial Release

Saturday, May 11th, has been dubbed as National Foam Rolling Day, so rightfully we wanted to share what we know about the benefits of foam rolling (effectively).

Lets’ break it down…

Being an athlete at Fit Societe, we’re sure most of you have had the experience of “rolling out” a body part on the foam roller. But how does it help your body? Myofascial tissues are the tough membranes that wrap, connect, and support your muscles. Foam rolling is a safe and very effective technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. There are many different types of self myofascial release, including hand-held rolling sticks and tennis/golf/lacrosse balls, but for this blog our focus will be on the importance of foam rolling.

When should I use a foam roller?

Using a foam roller during a warm-up may help elevate temperature in the muscle and fascia and help reduce tension. It is important to only foam roll for a brief amount of time because it can desensitize the muscle and affect muscle contractability during your workout. It can also be used effectively after a workout to promote recovery and reduce muscle tension. Whatever feels comfortable for you!

How do I foam roll?

Simply lay on the ground and move your body over the foam roller at a consistent tempo of 1 inch per second. For areas that have a lot of tension, remain in the position for up to 90 seconds to allow the tissue to lengthen and relax. Common areas to foam roll are the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, IT band, adductors, and lats. Always ask a coach if you need help or direction!

Why should I be foam rolling on a regular basis?

According to the American Council on Exercise, there are six main reasons to foam roll regularly:

  1. Reduces the risk of developing adhesions, or knots, that can restrict your ability to exercise pain free.

  2. Reduces muscle tightness and tension to increase your range of motion.

  3. Restores the proper length-tension relationship to muscles to prevent muscle imbalances.

  4. Shortens the recovery process and reduces soreness after a tough workout.

  5. Increases blood flow and elevates heat to the involved muscles.

  6. It releases endorphins, giving a feeling of relaxation!

What is the best type of foam roller to use?

There are many types of foam rollers with each promoting different types of benefits. Soft-core and textured foam rollers place less force directly on the muscle, promoting circulation and may be more comfortable when first introducing foam rolling to athletes. Hard-core and high-density foam rollers can apply a significant amount of pressure to areas of adhesion and tightness. Along with the pressure from the roller, vibration foam rollers create a reflexive action in the muscle, causing them to lengthen and reduce tension.

Want More Hands-On Treatment?

Although foam rolling and other self-myofascial release techniques can be very effective, sometimes it is not enough. Our massage therapists assess each client’s individual needs to determine the best technique to make you feel your best. Whether you are recovering from a race or seeking to alleviate shoulder pain, we offer the most comprehensive approach to wellness. Call now and schedule your appointment!

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