Foam Rolling Do's And Don'ts
Foam rolling benefits have become more and more apparent in recent years as the practice grows in popularity. But like every sort of fitness activity, there are some things you should definitely do and some things that need to be avoided.
Do roll slow and steady
Even if you have a very busy lifestyle, foam rolling is something you should take your time on. Set a good amount of time apart from your workout to get in all the foam rolling that you need. Since rolling out your muscles quickly might feel nice but won’t actually do any good, make sure you roll out each body part nice and slowly. Let your muscles and tissues compress and release. You will see better results this way.
Do roll often
Most people hit the gym 3 – 5 times a week and only roll once a week. Make time before or after your workout routine for foam rolling. Even doing it outside of your workout schedule can be beneficial. Start rolling your muscles daily and you’ll feel the difference.
Do roll all parts of your body
You’ll see most people foam rolling only their quads and hamstrings, but you can roll most parts of your body. Work your upper back and lats, calves and glutes. Every part of the body – with the exception of your lower back – can be benefited by foam rolling. Just remember to work around major areas instead of directly on them.
Don't ever roll your lower back
Your spine is the main part of your posterior chain and can really be affected by foam rolling. When you foam roll your lower back, the muscles around your spine will start to contract to protect the spine and this may cause injury.
So the next time you are rolling your back, stop once you hit the bottom of your rib cage. If you feel you need to release your lower back, try doing child’s pose or roll out the muscles that connect to your lower back.
Don't roll your back too quickly
Speeding through your foam rolling may feel amazing but isn’t doing any good. It’s merely superficial and you are not really eliminating any adhesions. Your brain needs to be given time to tell your muscles to relax and release. So instead of speeding through it, give yourself enough time to take it slow. Let your body and mind adjust to the compression and pressure, and use short, small rolls around the tender areas.
Don't roll directly where you feel the pain
When you feel pain, your first inclination is going to be to roll right where that pain is occurring. But this might be a mistake. Most muscle pain comes from tension imbalances in the areas surrounding or related to the area of the pain, so instead of focusing directly on the area of pain, try rolling the surrounding areas and the connected tissue and see if you find relief that way.
Foam rolling is an excellent way to relieve sore muscles, increase blood flow, and achieve a better range of motion. Adding this self-massage technique to your workout routine, and doing it properly, will help you get the best results from your workouts and leave you feeling good overall. Have any other tips about foam rolling? Leave a comment below!