Foam rollers have become a trendy piece of equipment at gyms worldwide. Despite the increase in popularity, there is still a lot unknown when it comes to myofascial release (MFR), or more commonly known as foam rolling. There have not been many thorough studies done to test for the benefits of MFR, but the research that does exist shows there are positive benefits to MFR. When performed properly before and after your workouts, foam rolling is an integral part of any strength and conditioning program.
Before You Roll
There are many different sizes and densities of foam rollers out there. Choose a size that works best for you, generally speaking the softer rollers do a more gentle massage while the harder rollers are better at getting trigger points and knots. You can also search YouTube for how to make your own out of PVC piping at a fraction of the cost of a foam roller.
Before you workout you will want to roll out your entire body. Take notice of areas that are more sensitive than others. Apply static body weight pressure on these spots to help loosen up some of the tightness. Do a quick video search on how to roll out your hips, quads, hamstrings, calves, feet, lats, chest, shoulders, neck, and the thoracic spine using your body weight and a foam roller. Focus on each area momentarily and remember to apply more pressure to tight spots as needed. This routine should take around 10-15 minutes and should be paired with some sort of light dynamic workout afterwards.
Upon completion of your workout it is very beneficial to quickly hit the roller again. This time focus on the main targets of your workout and spend a little time putting weight down in those regions. Spend a couple minutes in each spot then pair the foam roll with a quick cool down stretch. While the pre-workout roll is more important, you will miss out on some benefits if you forego the post-workout roll.
For more mobility tips check out the video of the week!