The foam roller – an object that often lives in your cupboard or even your kit back but very rarely makes an appearance unless your physio or masseur is fully booked at Reflex 18 or you happen to fancy using it the night before your big event. The dreaded pain of your fatigued muscles being ironed out by the dense smooth roller – if you chose correctly – or the stabbing pain infliction by the textured roller you thought was a good idea when making that online order.
So, I’ve set the tone to everyone’s thoughts on a foam roller, BUT, what does it actually do? Does it actually benefit my performance?
Let’s iron out those myths and highlight some “fascia – nating” information to help you maximise your performance.
Foam rolling often gets a bad name for inflicting pain on those tight quads or IT band but it is so much more than that. Used correctly foam rolling can help strengthen and revitalise the entire body by aiding the healing process to help restore FASCIA. Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue situated beneath the skin and wraps around muscles – view this as scaffolding for the body.
B E N E F I T S
The main benefit of foam rolling those fatigued and achy muscles includes hydrating and smoothing out the fascia. Improved circulation helps oxygenate the blood and therefore reduce toxins in the body. With the added movement it is noted that the foam roller helps ‘lubricate’ the joints and reduce inflammation. As you age a reduction in connectivity of your core muscles can be noticed however, adding the foam roller into your routine can help improve the connection.
Basically – don’t fear the foam roller!
It has a lot of benefits to your overall health. If you are NEW to foam rolling let’s choose your foam roller below. If you are an experienced foam roller let’s enhance your performance.
R O L L E R C H O I C E
Your foam roller choice may affect your first impressions to what you are about to experience so this is an important step into helping your body maximises it’s potential.
A foam roller is often a cylinder shape made from dense foam. However, these vary in shapes, sizes and various levels of firmness.
Smooth Roller – These are the most common roller. Known for their smooth, dense foam surface and often the most comfortable to start out with. These foam rollers offer an even, less intense feel to your fatigued muscles compared to that of your textured roller.
Smooth Roller à Perfect for the newbie of the foam rolling world.
Textured Roller – The textured roller. A roller that can put even the hardest of athletes off foam rolling. Known for their harsh ridges and knobs. They are used to work deep into the muscle and target any harsh tension.
Textured Roller à Perfect for the deeper muscle aches BUT not for the newbie.
F E E L G O O D F A C T O R
After a long day on the bike, chasing the kids around or sitting in your office chair the foam roller is the perfect way to help decompress. A sense of release nothing can come close to – almost like that first sip of cold water on a hot summer’s day.
See the foam roller as your personal massage therapist.
When using a foam roller to target big muscle groups such as your quadriceps, hamstrings or back it is important to use long strokes. These long strokes help increase blood flow to your muscles supplying them with a healthy dose of oxygen increasing that sense of FEEL GOOD FACTOR.
As a result of foam rolling your fascia your body becomes more pliable and in turn an increased flexibility can be observed.
Example – Foam rolling my glutes (maximus, medius and minimus) helps lengthen the muscles. As someone who suffers from lower back pain (lumbar) due to prolonged periods on the bike and sitting at a chair the foam roller has helped to reduce this and decrease the risk of injury in the future.
Simple, effective therapy!
Truth - Foam rolling improves blood flow
· As highlighted earlier an increased blood flow from foam rolling brings oxygen to the tissues of your muscles helping the healing process.
Truth - Assists fluid transportation
· Foam rolling helps the movement of fluid amongst your tissues and is essential to help carry nutrients to help healing processes while flushing any toxins and by products out.
Truth - Reduces soreness during the 48-hour post exercise window
· As stated in the previous Truth fluid transportation helps flush away any nasty cellular debris that may be left in your tissues by helping enhance your lymphatic system.
There we have it.
If you are a newbie go and choose your foam roller, more than likely the smooth one, and go iron out any tight muscles to help improve your performance.
If you are the experienced roller; hopefully you have a reason to get that roller out of your kit bag and increase the usage to help maximise your perform