FOAM ROLLERS – WHAT’S THE DEAL?
If you have been to a gym recently you have probably seen somebody contorted in an odd position on the floor, rolling back and forth on what looks like an oversized pool noodle. You may have asked yourself “does this guy know what he’s doing or am I on some hidden camera show?” Rest assured that you will not be appearing on TV, foam rollers are a fantastic tool to relieve muscle tension and break up muscle adhesions.
WHAT IS FOAM ROLLING?
Think of foam rolling as a form of personal massage. We are all familiar with deep tissue massage and the benefits it can have on muscle and connective tissue. Foam rolling shares many of those benefits, with the benefit of being able to perform it daily.
Foam rolling targets connective tissue called fascia. Fascia is a tissue that connects to muscles, bones, and tendons throughout your body to provide support. Healthy fascia is elastic and moves with your body. Fascia can tighten following intense workouts, due to poor posture, or injury. When fascia tightens it can result in range of motion loss and painful trigger points. Unfortunately, conventional stretching does not always release tight fascia. Direct pressure on the fascia is required. This is where that roller comes in. By rolling on the roller we restore mobility to the fascia by applying direct pressure to the tissue.
Just because it rolling is good for you does not mean that you will enjoy it. You can expect some discomfort (or what some may even call pain) when rolling. If you have experience with deep tissue massage the sensation should be similar. The pain should not persist once you have stopped rolling. The good news is that as the tissue heals with subsequent rolling sessions the treatment pain should decrease. If the roller is too intense for you a roller that is softer and less dense will be less intense.
HOW TO FOAM ROLL
- Roll each muscle group for 1-2 minutes.
- Apply moderate pressure to the target muscle with your bodyweight.
- Roll slowly.
- When you find painful or tight areas pause for several seconds. You should feel the tension slowly release.
- Try to relax. Contracting or tightening the muscles you are trying to roll will decrease the benefits of rolling.
- If a muscle is too sore to roll try rolling a nearby spot to loosen the entire area.
- Never roll over a joint and DO NOT roll your lower back.
SPECIFIC ROLLING EXERCISES
The purpose of this blog is to give you an understanding or what foam rolling is and the benefits it can have on your health. For optimal results I advise first being assessed by a Physiotherapist. Physiotherapists at Dynamic Physiotherapy in Okotoks will perform an examination identifying postural faults, muscle imbalances, and myofascial restrictions. Based on these findings an individual rolling program will be created for you, including demonstration of all exercises to confirm proper technique.