Rolling Your Way to Better PerformanceJune 25, 2019
Why you should be foam rolling before and after every workout:
Foam rolling is a common sight in the mobility room, but have you ever wondered what exactly it does or how to do it properly? In this guide, we explain the purpose of foam rolling and provide some tips for making the most of your next rolling session.
Strength training causes our muscles to go through a continual cycle of breakdown and repair. We often feel soreness or tightness after a workout because fascia, the connective tissue which covers and supports our muscles, contract and form adhesions which can limit our mobility. By applying targeted pressure with a foam roller, we can relax tension in the fascia so that our muscles can move more freely, reduce muscle soreness and enhance the quality of workouts.
Prepping the body for a better workout
Rolling before training sessions helps improve range of motion and prepares the body for activity. Start by placing the foam roller under muscle groups that will be targeted during training. Using your hands and legs to limit the amount of body weight pressure, roll with quick passes to stimulate the neuromuscular system.
Rolling away soreness
After a hard training session, we can speed up recovery by foam rolling with deeper pressure over a longer period of time. The proper amount of pressure depends on the target area. It should not feel comfortable, but if you start to experience sharp pain, this is a sign that you should back off.
A common mistake when rolling for recovery is moving too fast. While it might feel good to roll back and forth quickly, this is not an effective way to reduce fascia adhesions that cause tightness. Fascia consists of thick, fibrous tissue and requires slow and deliberate pressure in order to release tension. Aim for 1-2 minutes of pressure and move the muscle through its range of motion during rolling to maximize effectiveness. For example, flex and extend the knee while rolling out the quads.
On the other hand, staying too long on one spot is also a bad idea. Overly aggressive rolling can irritate nerves and cause even more tightness due to fascia contracting as a defense to excessive or prolonged pressure.