Foam rolls are a great tool for increasing flexibility, and improving your strength and balance. They are easy to use and are inexpensive to buy. You’ll find they can be a great way to supplement your workouts.
A foam roll is used for self myofascial release, or SMR, in the corrective or cool down stages of a workout routine. Fascia is a web of inter-connective tissue that lies between the muscles and bones throughout the body. The muscles and the fascia form to join the myofascia system. Stress, injury or trauma, inflammation, and bad posture can affect the myofascia system causing restrictions and tightness in the tissue. The goal of using a foam roll is to help release the tissue and restore health and movement.
In conjunction with stretching, using a foam roll adds a dynamic set of movements to your routine to help reduce injury, increase flexibility and improve performance. Basically you can use your own body weight to massage your muscles by sitting or lying on the foam roll in the desired areas of restriction. Any area of restriction can be a tight or sore muscle such as a hamstring or calf. Maybe you have noticed a knot in your back or your hips feel tight. This is a great way to help alleviate the problem yourself, whenever it is needed.
Anyone can use a foam roll, from the elderly population who want to maintain flexibility, to athletes who want to prevent injury; it makes a great addition to your corrective exercise program. While you can instantly feel better once you complete a series of rolls, you may find its use a little uncomfortable. When you are rolling and find a sore spot, or place in a muscle that is tender, using light pressure without pain will help alleviate the tightness.
Foam rolls are available in many sporting good stores and online here at LIVE. They come in whole or half sizes. Longer round versions can be used for the majority of SMR techniques including rolling your upper and lower back muscles, and are very popular. The 1ft round version is great for working the small inner thigh muscles or for just rolling 1 leg at a time as it maneuvers a little better. The half versions are used for balance and stability training. The use of a foam roll should be a consistent part of your program. Use it after running a 5K and roll muscles such as your hamstrings, calves and Iliotibial band. Or use it to alleviate tightness in your back and hips after a long work day. Whatever your needs, a foam roll can enhance your ability to perform and recover, and you may find over time that those nagging aches have disappeared.