What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling uses a rolling action to create a massage-like effect and apply pressure to certain areas of soft tissue to relieve pain. It is a form of self-myofascial release.
What does foam rolling do?
Ideally your muscle fibers will slide past each other with ease as you move, however sometimes they can get stuck together. The fascia covering the fibers can become stuck for several reasons including injury, trauma, inflammation, or inactivity. This essentially means the tissue becomes bound to each other and can cause what we call knots or trigger points that feel tight and can result in you feeling pain. Foam rolling these areas will help to get the fibers back to their original state by applying pressure and moving the fascia to separate and relax them which will make them more flexible again.
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
Foam rolling helps to limit soreness, increase circulation, improve mobility and flexibility. It can help to promote recovery after a workout and prevent injury.
Where can you foam roll?
You can foam roll any muscles such as glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and lats. You should avoid foam rolling over joints, bones, and ligaments.
How do I foam roll?
Lay on the ground with the foam roller between the floor and the targeted muscle/tissue. Shift your bodyweight to begin rolling the foam roller up and down the area – note for larger muscles you may need to move the roller medially and laterally (inside and outside) to make sure you cover the whole muscle.
You are essentially using this first step of rolling to explore and look for any tight spots or trigger points/knots. If you find any of these (they will be localised spots that are tender when you roll over it) then roll gently back and forth on this spot for longer until you feel the tension fade and pain decrease.
You can adjust the pressure you use by changing your body position or using your arms and legs on the floor for varied support meaning more or less of your bodyweight is on the roller itself.
How often should you foam roll and for how long?
For an active person foam rolling every day for around 10-15 minutes is considered ideal. Incorporating it into your regular routine will help to keep your muscles in a supple condition meaning you are less likely to become injured.
For foam rolling advice or to be shown how to get the best out of it just ask one of the therapy or gym team! Foam rolling works well alongside any gym programme as well as therapy treatments we offer including sports massage, shock wave therapy, dry cupping, dry needling, and soft tissue therapy.