Foam rolling is a form of “self myofascial” release that helps to alleviate pain, inflammation and adhesions.
Before we dive into this lets go over some terms.
- What is “Fascia”?
Fascia is a connective tissue that is made up of collagen fibers that surrounds your muscles. It is what holds everything together.
- What is “MyoFacial Release”?
“Myo” is a prefix used to mean “muscle” so “Myofacial” refers to “Muscle Fascia”
- What is an “adhesion”?
An “adhesion” is the binding of a muscle preventing it from properly sliding which can lead to a decrease in mobility and an increase in inflammation.
Now that you know what these terms mean lets see how they work together:
Myofacial release is the process of removing the adhesions in the facia of the muscle. This can be done in several different ways, but using a foam roller can be the fastest and sometimes the most effective way of do this. By using a foam roller and applying pressure to the affected area and the surrounding areas, you can control how much pressure is applied and how long it is applied.
Foam rolling is a FREE massage that has become increasingly popular in the fitness world due to it’s incredible benefits. Assuming you workout on a regular basis and eat a clean diet, you are probably a pretty healthy human, but even the best of us who workout with perfect or near perfect form get injuries or tight muscles that we can’t seem to correct by applying excessive pressure against the corner of the nearest wall. Insert the foam roller. The foam roller allows you to pin point where your tightness and/or pain and directly apply pressure to that area and the muscles around that area to increase blood flow and decrease tightness and inflammation.
So how much pressure should be applied and for how long?
When doing foam rolling or any kind of stretching exercise, people tend to subscribe to the “more is better” idea and that is simply not true for stretching or foam rolling. When stretching you want mild discomfort which, on a scale from 1-10, is about a 5. When foam rolling you will be in more pain, anywhere from a 5-9 at times, but you wont be in this pain for long (maybe 20 seconds). Think of foam rolling as a circle of pain…you will be in very minimal pain and as you move towards your adhesions (tight areas) the pain will start to increase and the most pain you will be in will be when you are directly on the adhesion and as you move on the other side of the adhesion the pain will start to decrease and you will be at the start of the circle of pain again where the pain will be the lowest. You will repeat this process for any location of tightness in your body for 2-5 minutes at a time. You can work on one area for 2-5 minutes then move to another area and come back to any area that you feel needs a little more relaxation. Try foam rolling for 20 minutes a day for 1 week and send us a message on our Facebook to let us know your experience and also if you would like to see any specific rolling demonstrations!
Here are a few muscles you can start rolling as soon as you get your roller:
Remember to breathe while you are performing all of these exercises and as a side note please notice that I am wearing slacks, a tucked in polo and super cool dress shoes. If I can do these exercises then there is no excuse of not wearing the proper clothing like high heels, a dress or anything else. : ) Happy Rolling!!!
Start by sitting on the floor and placing the roller under your legs near your glutes.
Use your arms to move your upper body backwards so the roller moves closer to your knees.
Tip: You can do one leg at a time for increased pressure and control over the muscle. You will be able to slightly rotate your body so the roller is hitting the sides of the hamstring as well.
Quadriceps: The big muscle directly below your hips and above your knees (on the front side)
Start by laying on the floor on your stomach and place the foam roller under your quads near your hips.
Use your upper body to pull your body forward so the roller is moving towards your knees.
Repeat this process for 2-5 minutes
Tip: You can do one leg at a time for increased pressure and control over the muscle. You will be able to slightly rotate your body so the roller is hitting the sides of the quad as well. You can also spend some extra time near your hip to release the hip flexors because as those become tight, they can lead to low back pain and psoas tightness.
Tibialis Anterior: The muscle on the opposite side of your calf (the one on the front below your knee)
Start by laying on your stomach and placing the roller on your tibialis near your knee
You will only do one leg at a time for this muscle due to its positioning so if you are rolling your right side, slightly rotate your body to the right and vice versa.
Use your arms to pull your body forward so the roller moves towards your feet
Repeat all steps for the other leg.
Piriformis: This is one of your butt muscles! This muscle runs from your hip to your femoral head. If this muscle is tight it can lead to sciatic nerve pain so rolling this muscle is crucial. You can also stretch this muscle by laying on your back, bending one leg so your foot is close to your butt and placing the other foot across your knee. You can then push on your knee of the foot that is elevated to create a greater stretch.
Start by sitting on the floor and placing the roller under the middle of your butt.
Use your feet to move your body sideways so the roller moves towards the outer part of your glute and then roll back to the starting position.
Tip: You can do one glute at a time for increased pressure and control over the muscle. You will be able to slightly rotate your body so the roller is hitting the sides of the glute as well.
IT Band: This is a tight band that runs down the side of your body from your hip to your knee.
Start by laying on your side and placing the roller under your hip.
Use your arms to pull yourself forward until the roller is at your knee.
Repeat this process for 2-5 minutes
Turn over so you are on your other side and roll this side the same way for 2-5 minutes.
Note: This part of your body will probably be the most pain you will experience while foam rolling. This will bring you to that “9” we talked about before : ) put your game face on and lets go!!
Shop at places like Ross and TJ Maxx for cheap foam rollers (about $10). Most sporting goods stores will sell them for around $25…trust us, they all do the same thing.
If you want to take advantage of Amazon Prime you can click this link and have it delivered to your doorstep in two days.
Now get out there, get your foam roller, and roll your way to health and happiness!!!