We use our foam rollers at the end of our TEAM Training classes. This is an excerpt from my blog to inform you on why we do it. Please feel free to ask me for further instruction during class!
Self Myofascial Release or Foam Rolling, massages muscles deeply much like a deep tissue massage. It gives many of the benefits of massage therapy in a cost effective and convenient manor.
Foam rolling is beneficial because it increases blood flow to impeded areas and lengthens muscle tissue. Think of your body as a system of levers and pulleys; your bones are the levers and the pulleys are your soft tissue. Soft tissue would include your muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia-tissue between the muscle and skin. In a perfect world, your muscles are in symmetry, keeping all of your bones and joints in balance. Perfect balance helps avoid excess wear and tear on one specific bone, joint or muscle. The problem is that we don’t use our bodies in perfect symmetry. Think about it, If you’re right handed, you use your right hand and arm differently than you use your left. If you stood perfectly symmetrical, you might look like a robot. Unless you deliberately carry your briefcase or purse on your left side as much as your right side, you’ve probably got one shoulder that’s tighter than the other.
We walk, jog and run using more of the anterior (front) muscles of our body. A well rounded training program works at strengthening and stretching the muscles that we don’t use as much to improve mechanical balance. The fact of the matter is that it takes a lot more than a few exercises and stretches in the gym to combat the constant wear and tear that we put on our bodies through exercise and activities of daily living. A good stretching and myofascial release program will help keep your body functioning at an optimal level, especially if you work on your trigger points.
Trigger points are “knots” in the muscles where blood flow and the nervous system can become impeded. This restriction can creates an imbalance that can cause your muscles to fire improperly and increase compensatory patterns. The effect is that your muscles will start to “borrow” from stronger muscles and allowing weaker muscles to become even less responsive. Performance can spiral down quickly as pain and discomfort spiral upward.
It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before starting a myofascial realease program.
Never roll on the bone or joint. Think large muscle groups like your legs and middle to upper back.
Avoid the neck area. If you have pain in your neck, seek out a health care provider, as this is a sensitive area that might require a different type of therapy.
Be sure and drink plenty of water. Foam rolling releases toxins that need to be eliminated.
Know that foam rolling is typically pretty uncomfortable. You shouldn’t feel pain after you’ve rolled. Wait 24-48 hours between rolling sessions.
Stretch AFTER you’ve rolled. Think of your muscle as a stretchable chord. If you have a knot in your muscle and you pull on it, you can actually make the knot worse.
Be consistent. If you have a chronic issue that seems to be improving with rolling, commit to rolling 3-5x/week for a month to get serious results.