Foam rolling has become very popular with all types of athletes because of how well it imitates a good deep tissue massage but costs much, much less -plus you can do it yourself at home. By using a foam roller, you are in control of how much or little pressure you’re putting on your muscles and you can focus on different areas depending on what you feel is needed. It’s a great way to stay injury free if you’re someone who’s active every day. Kinda like how mixing up a little Gnarly Feast is a great way to recover every day after a workout too.
How foam rolling works
Essentially, foam rolling is a type of soft tissue therapy known as self-myofascial release. Fascia is a layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and other structures in the body. Inflammation and irritation from exercise or overworked muscles causes the tissue to thicken and create pain, a decreased range of motion, poor blood flow, and even more inflammation and irritation. When you use a foam roller to help stimulate myofascial release, you are easing the tension and pain that these “trigger points” or “muscle knots” create and hopefully regaining some of the range of motion that was lost.
Like I said, the best part about foam rolling is that its extremely cheap, a typical roller costs maybe $40-$60 and will last you a good long time. Traditionally, a foam roller is just what it sounds like, a big foam cylinder that you can roll on. There are some newer styles available that are basically foam covered plastic cylinders which don’t really deform too much and can be much stiffer. I should probably point out that the traditional foam roller does tend to “wear out” a bit over time. You’ll begin to see the roller bend in the middle and you might not feel like you’re getting the massage you were used to getting when it was new.
Tomorrow we’ll go over a few of my favorite foam roller exercises and I’ll share some links to some how to videos and pics on foam rolling from the interwebs.