Have you ever had that ‘tight’ muscle feeling? Especially after a work out? Besides appropriate nutritional recovery, it is crucial to give those muscles some TLC. While foam rolling isn’t the complete answer to improved mobility, it can certainly be helpful throughout training.
All of our muscles in our bodies are surrounded by fascia (it literally is everywhere!), a thin yet dense connective tissue made up of collagen fibres. Fascia allows our muscles to slide among one another and prevents our muscles from exploding out from our skin when we use them!
Why foam roll?
Foam rolling helps to break down the adhesions that form in the fascia that build up overtime – usually what we equate to strain or that ‘tight’ feeling. This build up, is due to repetitive movements of the muscles – anything from running five days a week or gearing up for that fitness competition. Once the adhesions are broken down it allows the fascia to glide over the muscle and increases overall range of motion. I like to think of it as brushing your teeth, we do it every day, to prevent cavities. Similarly, if you are active, foam rolling (every other day is just fine) will assist to break down these adhesions and assist with maintaining your overall range of motion and mobility.
1. Roll back and forth in the region that is ‘tight’ for about 30-60 seconds.
2. Work the whole region and then go back over the area 3-4 times with a broad long roll.
3. If you find a ‘trigger point’ go over the area and apply direct pressure (this can take up to 2 minutes) and allow the muscle adhesion to ‘release’. It may take more than one session to work out that trigger point, so be patient! You are not going to get it all in one try, and doing so can cause muscle damage.
4. Remember not to roll the bursa, these are fluid filled sacs located where the muscle attaches to bone and prevent friction at the joints in our body. If you are rolling directly on a joint or feel bone, this is a bursa and steer clear!
5. Be sure to stretch post foam-rolling. Rolling does not replace stretching, it adds to it!
What you will need?
Hand Held Roller
Massage Ball/ Tennis Ball/ Lacrosse Ball
Tip: Ensure that your foam roller is hard enough and does not bend when you use it – its efficacy will diminish if it is like a pool noodle!
Gluts and Piriformis
All in all, foam rolling is a great way to work on your overall mobility. The better you move, the better you perform - so putting in the work, a little bit every day, will have you performing and moving better!
- Dr. K