Foam Rolling Techniques For Improved Muscle Health
Foam rolling is a relatively new therapeutic approach to myofascial health, but the trend is catching on quickly. Both casual athletes and hardcore fitness gurus have been using the device to help improve muscle performance and recovery after exercise. The user applies body weight on the roller to exert pressure on soft tissue to engage in self-induced massage, similar to how a massage therapist would manually manipulate muscles. Both new users and those who have been foam rolling for some time can benefit from the following techniques to improve muscle health.
Techniques For Using a Foam Roller
Upper Back (Thoracic Spine): Start in a lying down position with a foam roller under your shoulders and knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lift buttocks and roll slowly with the foam moving up and down the spine, keeping core muscles engaged. Focus on the middle of your back to the top of your shoulders.
Quadriceps: Lie face down with the roller under your thighs, elbows bent and forearms flat on the floor to support your torso; your feet should be parallel to the floor. Use your arms to move your body forward and back, moving the roller up and down from your pelvis to your knees.
Glutes: Sit on the floor with your legs straight, and then place the foam roller under your buttocks. You should have one leg bent and be leaning toward one side of your body so that it’s bearing most of your weight. Roll your glute muscles back and forth across the roller, bearing in mind that the movement is small. Switch sides and repeat.
Avoid These Mistakes When Foam Rolling
Mistake #1: Rolling directly at the source of pain. Your sore spot is more likely the result of an imbalance, so focusing on the source won’t help. There might be temporary relief, but you can also make things worse by increasing inflammation. Instead, get away from a sensitive area by a few inches and work in small strokes.
Mistake #2: Rolling too fast. What might seem like relief is actually not reducing the cause of sore muscles at all because your brain needs a chance to catch up and tell them to relax. Slow down so that the layers of tissue have time to recognize the relaxing pressure. You can then focus on the right spots, which is better than beating up a large area of muscle.
Mistake #3: Spending too much time on knots. It’s true that you want to focus on tender areas, but spending too much effort can lead to tissue damage. You’ll be tempted to place all your weight onto the foam roller to alleviate the knot, and this can cause bruising. As a rule of thumb, spend 20 seconds on a sore spot and then move on. Also, consider lessening the amount of body weight you place on the area.
Foam rolling techniques are effective in improving muscle health as part of a post-workout recovery routine, but there are times you need help restoring tissues. Proper recovery is essential to enhance performance and reduce injuries from workouts. An electrical muscle stimulation device, such as the Marc Pro or Marc Pro Plus, may also help to speed recovery, aid in conditioning and ease the post-workout muscle soreness.