Am I the only one who thinks of Limp Bizkit and starts yelling ‘KEEP ROLLIN ROLLIN ROLLIN’ as I read the title of this blog? I am? Oh. Well, anyways. As many of you who are familiar with this innocent looking, unsuspecting object, I VIVIDLY remember by first foam rolling experience. Many, many years ago, I was in the gym lamenting to one of the trainers that my legs were feeling sore and tight, and stretching just wasn’t cutting it anymore. He chuckled, handed me a piece of cylindrically shaped dense foam, and instructed me to place it under my hip in a side plank position, and get to rollin.’ I will leave my immediate reaction up to the imagination, but I can tell you that the phrase that came out of my mouth definitely was NOT, “Oh, this feels AMAZING!”
So now that I have confirmed that foam rolling is indeed “uncomfortable” in the beginning, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What IS foam rolling?” Also, “if it’s painful, why would I want to do it?!” Let’s discover the reasoning behind this whole thing!
Foam rolling is a type of myofascial release more specifically referred to as “Self Myofascial Release.” This means you, the patient, are administering the release, and controlling the pressure and intensity based on the direct feedback from your body. Myofascial release is extremely important to our musculoskeletal health, and when done regularly can have a profound impact on recovery and injury prevention. Foam rolling works to break up adhesions that form in the muscle and fascia, and can be specifically used to work out trigger points. Trigger points are knots in the muscle tissue that will radiate pain to other areas when provoked. It is important to break up adhesions and release trigger because left unattended, over time, your muscle tissue will lose its soft, supple nature, blood flow will be reduced, and this tissue will have difficulty healing and eliminating inflammatory byproducts. This leaves your muscles tight and sore, makes them more injury prone, decreases your range of motion, and sets you up for muscle imbalances in other parts of the body! You will also have trouble making gains (plateau, anyone?), and nobody wants that!
So coming full circle, if you suffer from tight, stiff, and sore muscle, grab a foam roller and get to work! Even as little as 3-5 minutes a day of foam rolling affected muscle groups will make a huge difference. You will notice that the discomfort felt during the session decreases over time. Be sure to always drink a TON of water after a foam rolling session, and be careful not to roll directly over joints. If you have any questions on how to get started with a home program, please reach out to me, I would be more than happy to help! Below is my favorite foam rolling flow, in order of body region. I usually spend 60-90 seconds in each spot!
My Foam Rolling Flow:
-Start on one side of the body, work through this flow, and then switch sides!