Foam Rollers Enhance Your WorkoutPosted by Ian Kullhem on Jan 22, 2015
Foam rollers have recently taken a big step forward in popularity in the fitness industry because they are so effective at reducing muscle soreness. Essentially, using a foam roller on your muscles is a form of self-sports-massage.
A foam roller provides deep muscle compression, which helps break up knots and reduce tightness in your muscles. This relaxes the muscles and adhesions formed between muscle layers and their surroundings.
By removing these adhesions and relaxing the muscle, you increase blood-flow (always a good thing) and improve mobility within the muscle tissue. The foam rolling actually targets knots in your muscles. One of the main benefits of foam rolling over sports massage is that you get to decide how much pressure you put on your muscles. By using your own body weight, you can regulate the pressure and make progress at your own pace rather than that of your sports masseuse.
But foam rolling isn’t jut for muscle massage. The beauty of a foam roller is that it can be used for both muscle recovery and muscle strengthening. One of the highly unique things about a foam roller is that it is round and low to the ground. This means that there are a myriad of stabilizing exercises you can do that focus heavily on your stabilizing muscles without the added risk of injury (i.e., it’s hard to fall over an injure yourself when you’re only six inches off the ground.)
Foam rollers come in different lengths. Some are about as long as your leg and others only come up to about your knee. Since the foam roller is cylindrical in shape, you can use it both lengthwise (parallel to your spine) or widthwise (perpendicular to your spine).
By using the foam roller lengthwise, you can do exercises that stretch your back and chest. For example, if you lie on a long foam roller so that it runs along your spine (lengthwise), and spread your arms wide, you’ll feel an invigorating stretch through your chest and arms. Similarly, if you flip over and place the roller against your sternum, you can do lifting exercises that require small movements that work both your back and stabilizing muscles.
Depending on your personal points of flexibility, you may find that placing the roller across your body (widthwise), and rolling it up and down your back helps work out the kinks and stiffness that you acquire from a week of sitting at the office.
At Pilates in the Pines, our trainers are happy to walk you through the specifics on foam rollers to ensure that you are using proper form and technique. Come in the studio for a group class or enroll in private training today.