Are you looking for innovative ways to gear up your exercise regimen? Foam rollers can help you out with that! But, what are these foam rollers and how efficient are they for exercise?
What are Foam Rollers?
Foam rollers are those exercise tools that look like very large marshmallows. Imagine a pool noodle? Bundle 3 to 5 of them together, and you’ll get the usual diameter of foam rollers, only its structure is more compact or denser. These are commonly used in a lot of exercise regimens, including yoga, Pilates workout techniques, and even during physiotherapy sessions. Foam rolling involves applying pressure to the muscles with the help of foam rollers.
The most common reason why Foam Rolling is done by many individuals is to release the tightness of the muscles in the body. The specific muscles that are involved in foam rolling are those that are actually attached to the bones. This includes muscles in the legs, arms, and the upper back. The muscles around the abdomen and lower back are not advisable to be included in foam rolling. You want to avoid injury to the organs inside that are not protected by bones, such as the kidneys in the lower back portion and the colon in the part of the abdomen. You would want to avoid rolling the joints as well.
The Bitter Sweet Benefits of Foam Rollers
Although foam rollers look so simple and harmless, you will actually feel a little pain when you use them to apply pressure on your muscles. The pain should be bearable enough, though. The target areas of foam rolling are your pressure points. When you hit these points during the roll, they feel tender and sore. Instead of ceasing the foam rolling process, you would want to concentrate more on that painful spot until you no longer feel tenderness on the area. By doing so, you actually release the pressure that is in your muscles and cause it to relax more.
If it causes pain, why would you still want to perform Foam Rolling? This is because there are various foam roller benefits you can enjoy.
- Relaxes, lengthens, and elongates muscles
- Provides intense massage to the muscles
- Prepares muscles for actual exercise session
- Improves blood circulation and flexibility of the body
- Gently trains the muscle to avoid future injuries
- Especially good for women in menopause phase! Great relief for an aching body!
- Very affordable technique for muscle tension release
- Uses an excellent tool to keep at home or anywhere you want to go
With all these benefits, is foam rolling applicable for everybody? When should you do foam rolling?
When To and Who Should Do Foam Rolling?
The use of foam rollers during fitness exercises was once popular only to the health buffs in the gym. Experts believe that this exercise technique is best for athletes, especially runners. But, today, average people at home can now perform foam rolling perfectly and start their fitness regimen too! If you are in the menopausal phase, foam rollers are even good for you!
The best time to perform foam rolling is before you actually start with your exercise techniques. Foam rolling is basically done to warm up the different muscles of the body, allowing them to loosen up a bit and stretch optimally. When your muscles have been staying in one position for a long time, your muscles tend to contract and tighten. This often occurs when you are seated for a long period or you were standing for too long.
How to Use a Foam Roller?
To show you how to use a foam roller, here are some informative videos to guide you. The following videos will tell you about foam roller benefits and everything you need to know about it. Enjoy the clips below!
Getting Flexible on Your 50s with Foam Rollers
Watch Debra Atkinson discuss some ways to naturally improve your flexibility, by using foam rollers. She also talks about Myofascial Release which is a technique that can be done with the use of a foam roller as well. Learn more about it through this video. (3.16 mins)
Foam Rolling for the Hips and Glutes
This technique allows you to do better squats and develop the gluteal muscles even more. It can also help you prevent hip injuries. Here is Debra Atkinson with a brief but informative talk about this foam rolling method. (1.38 mins)
Upper Back Foam Rolling
This technique helps you develop a better posture and reduce back tension. Here's Debra Atkinson once more to show you the technique for upper back foam rolling. (1.40 min)
Foam Rolling Techniques for Perimenopause
Watch Dorothy from Bright Body Fitness with her morning routine using foam rollers. She covers different foam roller routines that offer benefits to the various parts of your body. She also has a technique to help you relax after long hours in front of the computer. Watch her do the methods in this video. (9.45 mins)
Full Body Rolling
Follow instructions for full-body rolling out routine with Ashley Borden. She has various tips on foam rolling for beginners and veterans in the foam rolling scene. Check this out! (13.06 mins)
Tips for Efficient Foam Rolling Sessions
- Take it slow when you do foam rolling. You have to work it out slowly to release muscle tension.
- If you feel some tenderness or pain when rolling, you want to focus more on that site. That sore muscle could be “knotted” and you want to release that tension. So work more on it until you feel the pain go away.
- Remember to breathe while doing your routine. Especially when you hit a painful area, breathe deeply and go on with your routine.
- Use the right kind of rollers. If you are a beginner, you can choose the basic foam rollers like Body Sport's Foam roller and PER's High Density Roller. If you want to go on further use denser and ridged types of foam rollers like the Trigger Point Performance Roller Foam. Or, you may want to get a set of both basic and ridged foam rollers like the one by Product Stop, Inc.
- You can use a yoga mat or any non-skid mat as you go on with rolling. This will avoid the roller from sliding off while you are using it.
If you are a beginner in foam rolling, the videos provided above will surely give you good tips for starters.
Have you tried out foam rolling? How did it go? Tell us your story in the comment box below!