Perhaps you’ve heard of foam rolling or seen the foam cylinders in the corner of your fitness facility. What is foam rolling and how can it benefit you? Foam rolling is something you can do by yourself at the end of your workout to help aid in the recovery of your muscles. It doesn’t take long, and once you are familiar with the basics, targeting specific sore areas in the body is simple and straightforward. Before we dive into how you can get started with incorporating foam rolling into your fitness routine, let’s look at more of the benefits.
Foam rolling is similar to a deep tissue muscle massage, targeting specific sites and knots within the muscle that can become irritated after exercise. Following a session of rolling out the muscles, you can help reduce soreness and aid in the recovery process. This recovery is initiated by the increased blood flow into the body’s muscles. Rolling stimulates this increased blood flow increasing a fluid shift into the muscle as a widening occurs in the arteries. Foam r
olling even once a week can also help reduce the chance of injury as rolling allows you to work with the sore areas in your body and reduce tightness and stiffness.
Now that you know some of the benefits, what is the best way to start foam rolling? All you’ll need is a roller and some open space. An easy way to begin is working from the feet upwards. Try to target the body’s muscle groups such as the calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, back, and shoulders. In each muscle group, roll out the entire area for 10-30 seconds and continue to target any areas of pain or soreness you find. As an example, if you were rolling the calves put your body weight on top of the foam roller while lying on your back and rolling back and forth.
Foam Rolling Cheat Sheet: Work through this list of different areas of the body.
*Note: avoid rolling directly on the lower back and spine.
2) Quads (Front of Legs)
3) Hamstrings (Back of Legs)
6) Middle and Upper Back