Written by Clinical Movement Coach, Tristan Kirk
Chances are you have heard about foam rolling, whether through your Physio, personal trainer, or even online, and maybe you already have a roller at home collecting dust or sitting beneath a pile of spare clothes.
Now, what if I told you that your foam roller could be much more than a glorified clothes rack, or fitness ornament; instead it could assist with the release of muscle tension, increase range of motion, and improve your training, mobility, or rehab progress.
But what exactly is foam rolling and how does it work?
Foam rolling is a form of Self Myofascial Release (SMR) or soft tissue massage which is done by applying sustained pressure to a muscle using a foam roller. When this pressure is applied and sustained, a signal is sent to the central nervous system (CNS) to relax the muscle and release the tension that is being held in the muscle. This release in tension can relieve muscle soreness, and improve muscle flexibility, and joint range of motion.
How do you use your foam roller?
With the foam roller on the floor, you will typically sit or lie on the foam roller with the pressure applied directly to the muscle you are wanting to work on or release. From there you will roll or rock back and forth along the muscle, slowing down or pausing at the areas that feel particularly tight or tense, and maintaining the pressure as you breathe through the discomfort until you feel the tightness soften or release (usually 30seconds).
While foam rolling can be done at any time to find relief in muscle tension and soreness, the most benefit can be obtained from foam rolling when it is conducted right before any training or completing your exercises, because it can allow you to work through ranges of motion or access movement patterns that may not have been available prior; which can lead to more permanent results.
Now – time to dust off your old foam roller! Or if you don’t have one, we have a variety available to purchase in the clinic.