Foam rolling – what once was only used by professional athletes and physical therapists, has become a self-massage technique incorporated in everyday practice for people across all activity levels. And like all of us, foam rollers come in all shapes, sizes, and firmness. Long rollers provide more support, short rollers are convenient for travel, and soft rollers allow for a more gentle massage than their firmer counterparts.
Check out the tips below and learn how foam rollers can improve your circulation and why they’re great pre- and post-workout.
We should warn you, foam rolling can be a bit painful when you’re very tight and/or just getting started. But trust us, it’s worth the discomfort. If something feels off or you’re experiencing too much discomfort though, stop and consult your doctor before continuing.
Foam rolling is basically a way to give yourself an affordable deep tissue massage. It can increase your range of motion, blood circulation, and help protect you from injury. Use it to loosen up common areas of tightness such as your back, quads, and IT band (the tendon that runs down the length of your outer thigh).
Tip: Foam rolling daily can help prevent injuries due to muscle imbalances and/or overuse.
Foam rolling can be performed before and after your workout, or simply to get your day started. Foam rolling before your workout can increase your range of motion and help you move better during your workout, all while protecting you from injury. Foam rolling after your workout can enhance recovery by stimulating blood flow.
Tip: Focus on the major muscles you worked while emphasizing the areas that are most troublesome.
Keep it simple. Break your muscles down into smaller sections and focus on one area at a time. Slowly roll over the various sections to help break up scar tissue and reduce muscle tightness. Allow your body weight to rest on the foam roller and try to relax as much as possible; try not to support too much of your weight on your arms instead of the roller. Spend about 30-60 seconds on each area you want to roll.
Tip: For especially tight spots, you may have better results by applying constant pressure rather than rolling back and forth.
Keep in mind, it’s important to be patient and consistent. While improvements may not be immediate, foam rolling regularly can reduce muscle soreness, imbalances, prevent injury, and increase range of motion.
If you aren’t already using a foam roller, you're missing out on some serious benefits! And if you can't find one at your local gym (or just want your own), subscribe to Ellie and receive one in the July 5 item box. Use promo code SUMMER now through 7/14/19 and get the 5 item box 30% off.