The Importance of Foam Rolling

The foam roll is an excellent tool for anyone who is physically active. For an athlete of any kind I would say its a must!! This simplistic light-weight cylinder comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to be used as both a tool for injury prevention and maintenance of the bodies muscular functions. In a very broad sense, to help this make sense, you can imagine the muscular structure of the body as being the fabric of a patch-work quilt. The tendons and layers of tissue beneath the skin are the threads which weave everything together. If the thread becomes bunched or torn it will immediately effect the fabric and vise versa. The foam roll works as an iron to smooth out bunches and wrinkles so that everything lays flat, the way it was originally intended.

Foam rolling is a do-it-yourself sports massage. The weight of your body moving against the foam roll stretches  muscles and tendons. This helps break up trigger points and soothe tight muscles. When the muscles and tissues of our bodies are stretched it increases blood flow and circulation to aid in proper recovery between workouts.  Without adequate recovery you may experience pain, soreness and reduced range of motion. The body cannot perform at an optimal level unless it has been able to repair itself.

There are essentially two types of  muscle pain that stem from strenuous exercise:

  1. Lactic acid build-up – a burning sensation felt during exercise
  2. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) - a lingering ache felt days after exercise

Experienced time to time, soreness is not worrisome and quite normal. However if you are experiencing soreness consistently in the same place this is a major sign of over-training. Your body has not been able to fully recover and repair itself between your work outs and you are essentially driving on a thin tire – sooner or later its gonna blow.  A few more things you can do to heal the body are:

  • Massage
  • Ice/heat therapy
  • Cool down & stretching after workouts

Below, I have included links to further information on the foam roller, their benefits and how to use them.

Running Times MagazineThe (almost) Magical Foam Roller: Working your injuries – Foam Rollers for Myofascial Release & Massaging Tight Muscles

PerfromBetter.comSelf-Myofascial Release Techniques

Sports-Fitness-Advisor.comSelf Myofascial Release

Wrestling Performance - 8 Cutting Edge Exercises to Increase Mat Speed, Power & Recovery!

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