Saturday, July 19, 2014

Recovery Tip #2: Foam Roll

“Anyone can train hard.  Do you have the discipline to recover?”
~Lauren Fleshman

Every athlete should own a foam roll.

What is a foam roll?
A foam roll is usually made out of foam (duh) and come in different sizes and densities.  If it’s your first time, begin with a soft foam roll and work your way up to a firmer foam roll.

What do I do with a foam roll?
Foam rolling is self-myofascial release aka a self-massage technique.  You will find that most elites visit their massage therapist regularly but for the rest of us, foam rolling is an excellent alternative AND it can be done every day.

How do I foam roll?
You literally roll your muscles.  Place the foam roll underneath the muscle you want to roll and use your body weight to apply pressure and roll.  Make sure you roll all the way from the muscle’s origin to the insertion.  My favorites include calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and IT band. You can also use a pressure point technique where you pause over a tender spot or knot and try to relax for 30-60 seconds to let the pressure release.

Warning: Foam rolling can be very painful.  It’s a love/hate relationship that hurts so good.  You may feel uncomfortable – but never to a point that you cannot tolerate.  You also should to avoid rolling bones or joints and skip the lower back.  It can cause more harm than good.

Why Foam Roll?
Foam rolling regularly can help increase flexibility and range of motion.  While stretching is also great for flexibility, foam rolling can get to areas that stretching on your own cannot.  It can help break up those knots allowing better blood flow to the muscles resulting in increased mobility and faster recovery.

[Related Post: Recover Tip #1: Ice Baths]

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