Oftentimes after a good workout we feel sore and our muscles tight. Last week, we mentioned the importance of stretching, but this won’t always make the cut. So what can we do to recover?
Foam rolling provides a myofascial massage to the muscles. It is able to provide a deep tissue massage, similar, though not as thorough, as a massage therapist would. This massage increases mobility and releases the tension in the tissue. This tension is build up from the constant shortened state of the muscle. It also provides a stimulus to increase blood flow to the area, which helps with the delivery of nutrients and aids recovery.
The compression that the foam roll supplies to the targeted area helps distinguish trigger points. These trigger points are noticeable when you feel a slight pain or discomfort over a certain area and they are sports where knots have created. The pain should not be intolerable.
The pressure over the area releases these knots by breaking them up. This process is what releases the tightness of our muscles, restores normal blood flow, and brings back our flexibility. Foam rolling also helps regain and even increase our range of motion and prevent injuries. With an increased range of motion, we are able of performing better movements, for example, it can help release the tension surrounding our hip flexors and extensors, gluts, quads, and hamstrings. Having these muscles fully relaxed and knot free help us go into a full squat, which helps further tone our gluts and legs.
So when should you foam roll?
Ideally, before and after working out. However, it is not always feasible to do so. So, if you have to choose between before, or after, foam roll before the workout. Why? Because it stimulates blood flow to the area, which you will need to perform the exercises.
How should we roll?
Foam rolling should be done slowly. Once you find a trigger point, apply pressure to the area and hold it for about 20 seconds. Once finished, your muscles should feel relaxed and the tension released.
Next time you have some extra time before class starts or would like to stick around after, try foam rolling!