Foam rolling has become my go to before and after a workout. I don't think there's one thing in my life that I do more consistently now (other than drink water, & that's iffy). Let me begin by saying I was the biggest skeptic. I would make fun of Chris for bringing his foam roller with him on vacation, weekends away, having one in his office, etc. I was a serious downer on foam rolling until I realized all of its insane benefits and how amazing it made me feel.
I have hopped on the foam rolling bandwagon & i'm never looking back.
I have always had tight hamstrings like chronically tight. I injured my hamstring in high school playing sports and it flairs up when I workout and don't stretch enough.
Chris would constantly tell me that I needed to begin adding stretching and foam rolling into my daily routine and that I would see some serious improvements if I did. & what did I do...tell him he's being ridiculous and I'm completely fine and I don't need to be rolling around on some foam cylinder, and he's just insane 🙈.
Well let me just tell you I ate my own words.
So I began foam rolling before and after each workout and I'm way less sore, can make it through a whole workout without complaining about my legs & can actually bend over and rest my hands on the floor without having to bend my right knee.
I would call that a victory!
So now you're wondering what in the hell is foam rolling and how does it help, right?
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release or self massage that breaks up adhesions between your muscles and fascia (or spider web of tissue that wraps around your muscles). These adhesions are microtears that you get from working the muscle.
When you roll the muscles out it increases blood flow to the area. Which increases mobility and range of motion, speeds up recovery and improves the muscles ability to contract. All of these benefits lead to increasing performance.
So basically, bottom line it's a little piece of magic.
I like to roll my muscles before a workout gently to warm up the muscles and after a workout to release the muscles. Before I workout I foam roll gently just loosening my body up so my muscles are activated and after I roll more intensely holding or pushing in to any spots that feel that they need it.
When I roll I normally target my middle and upper back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calfs.
If i'm rolling my back I stick to my upper and mid back section and focus on relaxing my back muscles and sinking farther into the roller with every breath. Slow and controlled breaths are key as well while I roll over the area for about 20 seconds. If there's a spot that feels a bit more tender I will very slowly inch over that one spot and give it its own 10 seconds, again making sure I am slowly breathing through each pass. It is ok to feel discomfort but you do NOT want to feel pain. If it hurts take some weight off the roller by readjusting and try again.
The foam rolling technique really is different for everyone. The way that I roll my back and target certain muscles might not be exactly the same as you do because everyone feels things in their own way. I personally need to target my hamstrings more because they're super tight and some might need to spend more time rolling their quads because those are super tight for them.
It takes time to figure out which areas need the most attention and how to roll specific areas. It really is all trial and error. Trust me it can be frustrating but like anything else if you stick with it the benefits are amazing.
Here are also a few tips on what NOT to do when foam rolling:
- Roll fast
- Roll for more than 1 min. per area
- Roll close to joint, especially the knee joint
- Fight through pain (remember if you feel pain stop & readjust)
- Roll the lower back
- Roll your neck
I know it can seem overwhelming, and I want everyone to reap the benefits of it because it has helped me so much. If you guys want me to create a foam rolling tutorial to show you how I roll and when/ where let me know in the comments section or over on Insta! Also I have linked a few foam rollers below for you to take a look!