When you start a brand new fitness routine, it’s not uncommon to be hit with a case of DOMS. It sounds scary, but it actually means Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness! If you haven’t been terribly active for a while, or are trying a new workout style that uses some muscles you have forgotten about, a foam roller is about to be your new best friend!
How do foam rollers work?
Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release that you can do on your own body. It works by massaging or releasing muscle and fascial tightness. The roller applies pressure, helping to break up ‘knots’ that can form in your muscles and tissue.
To use a foam roller, slowly run the roller down stiff muscles (such as your calves, hamstrings, quads, Iliotibial (IT) bands and middle back), using your bodyweight to apply as much pressure as feels comfortable. Slow and steady is the key. Start by rolling along the length of the muscle, then you can follow up with small rolls over any spots that are tender.
Take long breaths as you roll, as this helps to increase the flow of blood (and oxygen) to your muscles. Our foam rollers have raised sections, which can push a little bit deeper into your muscles as well. The mixture of smooth and bumpy textures is designed to mimic the actions of a massage therapist, which can help to reduce muscle tension.
What are the benefits of foam rolling?
- Foam rolling can help reduce pain and muscle soreness. Massaging the muscles increases blood flow and oxygen to the tissue, helping the natural healing process.
- It helps with flexibility. Foam rolling, together with stretching and rehabilitation, can help lengthen your muscles.
- It helps you to manage stress. Stress-related tight spots can lead to discomfort, which can impact on your sleep. Once the tension is reduced, you might find yourself sleeping a whole lot better!
- It can help you to have an increased range of motion. Foam rolling helps to stretch and lengthen muscles, so you have a better range of movement.
- It can help to prevent common injuries. Tight muscles can be more prone to injury, so self-release of muscles and fascia can help loosen everything up and increase your overall performance.
- Foam rolling may help to reduce cellulite, as the increased blood flow can help your body’s natural detoxification processes.
A few last tips
Remember that foam rolling can be a little bit uncomfortable to begin with, especially when you roll over muscles that are ‘congested’ or feel tight. Go lightly if you find an area particularly painful; placing too much direct pressure on an area of inflammation may make things worse. Instead, decrease the pressure slightly, or work on the surrounding tissue instead.
Foam rolling is a fantastic addition to your rehabilitation and recovery sessions. They can also be used to support some postures during yoga or pilates, so they are a fantastic addition to any home gym!
Check out our foam rollers!