Foam rolling has become the new way to perform self-myofascial release (a fancy term for self-massage) for a number of reasons: it helps to release muscle tightness, provides an effective means of stretching after physical activity, and improves range of motion.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a technique that trains your muscles to release from tightness. It has the potential to relieve tension in the back or neck and can increase the range of motion in your joints. Another good strategy is foam rolling, which has the potential to reduce inflammation after a workout.
Pressing on certain points of your body helps relieve muscle tension. You can also get a quick spa massage, but this takes a lot of time and costs a lot as well.
Why Use Self Myofascial Release
SMR targets muscles that are negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, and dysfunctional movements. This type of intense mechanical stress on the body will cause an injury, which the body recognizes as such. The Cumulative Injury Cycle deems this process as both a wear-and-tear cycle and a damage recovery cycle.
When you apply pressure to a point of tension in the muscle, this can unknot and stretch your muscles. This means that there is less pain from your trigger points in the muscle. This often happens when you do a sustained pressure point with a foam roller while applying some bodyweight on it.
For as little as $25 you can buy a basic foam roller and start feeling healthier in 10 minutes flat. Here are a few of the great health benefits of getting those muscles rolling before we get into six basic foam roller moves.
Health Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller
Foam rolling and myofascial release have gained popularity in recent years as the benefits are better understood. Here are 5 great examples of how it can help you:
1. It Loosens Up Tight, Sore Muscles
Have you ever gone from lounging on the couch to hitting the pavement without stretching? It can make you feel like you’re walking around in a cast.
Foam rolling is a great way to warm up your muscles before a workout so that you can get the most out of your exercise. One study conducted by the NSCA found that after foam rolling, athletes were more energetic and flexible than those who had not foam rolled.
2. Reduces Stress
High levels of pressure can affect your health, especially if you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape. Research has shown that foam rolling can have a positive effect on cortisol levels, lowering stress levels and improving mental health.
3. Prevents Injury
Injury prevention is about both avoiding injuries and being proactive. A routine of stretching and foam rolling can keep you healthy by loosening up the muscles and preventing overuse.
Studies have shown that loosening up muscles can increase their compliance, which will help avoid demanding energy absorption and release. As such, you should use slow, continuous movements, with no jerky or sudden contractions. Another great way to reduce pressure is by practicing slow breathing. It has been shown that deep breathing can lower blood pressure in the body and eliminate stress.
4. Increases Flexibility
Rollers can deliver big improvements in flexibility and muscle recovery. They also have benefits for muscle elasticity, meaning that they can produce more power. The more flexible your muscles are, the more power they can produce. Foam rolling, according to research, can actually help athletes increase their range of motion.
5. Boosts Circulation
Many of our clients tell us that after their massage, they feel more relaxed and have increased blood circulation. This is because we focus on improving blood flow to the arteries, veins, and capillaries in the body. This increase can result in an overall sense of well-being for our clients. One study showed that the elasticity of arteries increased and the health of their lining improved after rolling on a foam roller.
Guidelines Before You Start Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is typically done on one’s own, but there are plenty of ways to learn the correct technique beforehand. Working out the right muscle groups can help reduce tension and inflammation. During these exercises, it is necessary to keep your core stable. Use the drawing-in maneuver (pulling your navel in towards the spine) to do so. Other benefits of foam rolling include loosening up tight muscles, preparing for a yoga session, and aiding in muscle recovery after injury or before your next workout.
How To Use A Foam Roller
Foam rollers are becoming a popular way to relieve muscle aches. Start with your legs and work your way up to the upper body for deep tissue massage.
- Roll over the area slowly and relax your muscles. Do this about ten times.
- Identify the source of your pain- from an injury or a stressor. Then apply pressure to it, crouch into it, and wait for relief.
- Cross frictions—knead it back and forth across the muscle.
5 Foam Roller Moves To Loosen Tight Muscles
Here are five simple foam rolling moves for the most common muscle issues and how to do them. Spend at least 30 seconds with each and if you find any trigger points in the muscle, spend a few seconds on that specific point before carrying on. Keep breathing, and let the roller do its work. You may experience some discomfort at first, but in the long run, it will lead to relief and better workouts. It will also help prevent injury in the future.
- To begin, lie with the foam roller under your mid-back. The feet should be hip-height apart.
- Walk your feet slowly forward as the roller glides up your back. Grasp any tight areas with gentle pressure. (Note: you don’t want to foam roll the lower back, but you can use a massage ball on either side of your spine).
- Move forward and back for 30-60 seconds.
- Begin in a seated position with the foam roller just between your ankle and your hip joint. Your hands should be just behind your hips.
- Repeat three times with each leg. Move back and forth gently for 30 seconds, stopping at any tight areas.
- Begin seated with your hands behind you, your hips off the floor, and a foam roller under your right hamstring.
- Keep right leg relaxed and long with the left knee bent over the roller and left foot on the ground.
- Begin by pressing down into your left foot and back, slowly rolling the foam roller up your right hamstring. Pay extra attention to the right leg and keep it relaxed.
- Glide up and down the muscle for 30-60 seconds concentrating on any tighter areas.
IT Band Relief
- Lay on your side with the foam rolling placed just above the knee joint.
- Bend your left knee and place your left foot in front of your right foot.
- Start by moving your right leg back and forth, slowly at first so you can concentrate on areas in which it’s sensitive. Pay attention to any tight areas that this work may have resolved.
- Switch sides.
- Lay on your back with the foam roller at armpit level, knees bent with feet on the floor, and hands behind your head.
- Twisting slightly to the right, push slowly into your feet so your body begins to move back and the roller glides down along your lats on the right. Return slowly to start.
- Repeat for 30-60 seconds concentrating on any tight areas.