Foam rolling is an important part recovery and maintenance while training- whether you are an experienced worker-outer (industry term) or just starting out. It is also one of the few things that we ask clients to do that may not just be uncomfortable, but downright painful. No pain, no gain right? In this instance yes!
For someone who is just starting out, foam rolling can feel pretty silly- flailing on the floor- making those weird faces, but trust me it is worth the discomfort.
Rolling is beneficial in multiple ways….
- Blood flow- as you roll you are increasing blood flow to that area. This helps speed recovery to your muscles that you are breaking down while you workout.
- Trigger points- If you ever foam rolled chances are you’ve found on of these bad boys. That knot that makes your left eye twitch when you roll over it? Probably a trigger point. They can be found all over your body and can be responsible for all kinds of referred pain- like back pain!
- Joint stiffness and pain- What connects your joints to each other? Your muscles! If your muscles get tight, as they are wont to do when you workout, think about what’s happening to your joints- they get pulled! Pesky elbow pain? Roll your biceps and triceps! Nagging knee pain? Try rolling your quads!
- Undo all the sitting- It only takes your muscles 20 minutes to start to freeze in a position. How many hours a day do you sit in the exact same position? Rolling is a great way to help you get back to neutral BEFORE you workout, making your workout safer and more effective!
Foam Rolling Circuit
Many people will try to roll in the most comfortable/least useful way. Try to complete some of these circuits on your next workout.
-Sit down on the foam roller
-Cross your right leg across your left knee.
-Put your right hand down on the ground behind you
-Roll the right hip
-Switch sides and do the reverse
-Roll from the top of your knee to the bottom of your hip.
-If needed you can reduce the amount of pressure applied by putting the opposite leg on the ground.
-Bend the hip and knee at 90-degrees
-Split the upper leg in half
-Do 8-10 rolls on the inside of the leg toward the hip
-Do 8-10 rolls on the outside of the leg towards the knee
-Extend your arm
-Roll from halfway down your ribs all the way to your armpit
-Keep torso facing the wall in front of you
-Put the foam roller at your shoulder blades
-Put your hands behind your head, elbows pointing up towards the ceiling
-Roll from the top of your shoulders to the bottom of your shoulder blades
-Do not roll on the neck
-You can also cross your arms across your body
Heard enough? I could go on! Long story short — do it. It won’t feel great in the moment, but I promise it will make you feel better in the long run!