THE IMPORTANCE OF FOAM ROLLING
Just as exercise is important for our health, it is as equally important to recover from those workouts as effectively as possible. Ensuring that our muscles are prepared to handle the next bout of training is essential to maintaining progress and driving performance forward. This includes proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and myofascial treatment to help the muscles repair and grow.
We now see Foam Rolling treatment being used not only from a rehabilitative standpoint but also as a way to prevent fatigue and soreness from impacting exercise performance. Myofascial Foam Rolling essentially works to relieve built up tension in the fascia that surrounds our muscles and that can make us stiff and sore. If this tension is not addressed, it could increase the risk of muscle soreness and potentially future injury.
Foam Rolling helps to ensure the muscles and fascia are flexible and that they receive proper circulation. This helps to maintain range of motion so that progress can be made during training without sacrificing pliability of the muscles. Research has shown that Foam Rolling can help to maintain and build muscle strength after heavy training sessions.
One of the best reasons to incorporate Foam Rolling is to decrease fatigue and muscle soreness, known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Foam Rolling after training has shown to significantly decrease soreness after training, helping reduce fatigue and pain going into a recovery session or following workout.
Luckily, a Foam Roller is usually inexpensive and can be purchased for less than $30. A Foam Roller is one of the best tools to keep with you when you workout and to use after you’ve really worked your body. A simple few minutes daily can have many positive lasting effects and potentially help you improve with your training.
Important Areas To Foam Roll
One of the areas of the body that can benefit greatly from a Foam Rolling session is the Glutes and the IT Band/TFL. After a tough leg day or even if you’ve been on your feet for a prolonged period, there is a tendency to have tightness and tension in these areas. Foam Rolling the outer thigh and glutes may really help to alleviate the pain and could help you recover quicker from your workout.
Another area that needs a lot of attention is the upper back and T-spine area. The upper back and shoulders tend to carry a lot of tension; whether it is from training or, as often seen, or from being at a desk during the day. Foam Rolling this area can potentially help to improve mobility and range of motion in the shoulders, which can ultimately lead to improved function and less pain.
Lastly, an often-overlooked area that could benefit from some good Foam Rolling is the calf muscle, known as the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles. Theses muscles can become extremely tense, and this tension can radiate from the feet all the way to the back of knee. Foam Rolling this area can potentially improve range of motion in the knee, and ultimately reduce potential pain and discomfort that can build up from bouts of activity or being on our feet.
D’Amico, A., & Gillis, J. (2017). The Influence of Foam Rolling on Recovery From Exercise Induced Muscle Damage. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,49, 1065. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000519927.75434.24
Romero-Moraleda, B., Touche, R. L., Lerma-Lara, S., Ferrer-Peña, R., Paredes, V., Peinado, A. B., & Muñoz-García, D. (2017). Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: A randomized controlled clinical trial. PeerJ,5. doi:10.7717/peerj.3908
Preventive and Regenerative Foam Rolling are Equally Effective in Reducing Fatigue-Related Impairments of Muscle Function following Exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2017 Dec 1;16(4):474-479. eCollection 2017 Dec.