My new training plan calls for foam rolling every Monday. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what the heck foam rolling meant!! (Apart from hair curling :D).
Here’s a great article from runners world: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/how-to-use-a-foam-roller
It breaks down the different ways to foam roll and even provides a few tips on which foam rollers to get for which price range / level of seriousness…
Essentially, you roll different areas of your legs, arms, torso over the foam roller at varying levels of pressure to “massage” the muscles. Like a deep tissue massage for athletes, the goal is to work out any knots.
Deep tissue massage and foam rolling all lead to myofascial release — the release of muscle tightness. My muscle tightness presents itself in different ways depending on the area of the body affected. In my calves, it feels like my muscles are super stretched out and tight.
In my lower back, it feels like tight little knots — that I can actually feel with my fingers… this is sometimes called a Trigger Point. To get my lower back trigger points and my tight calves cause serious discomfort — and getting regular massages isn’t an option for my budget.
In comes the foam roller — which I got on Amazon for less than $10.
How does it feel?
Truthfully — it’s pretty painful. Much like a deep tissue massage, if you’re doing it right – you’ll probably feel it! But it’s a good kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that leads somewhere good…
This isn’t to say that it’s unbearable or hurts like crazy — I can just feel it and getting those little muscles to relax takes a bit of work.
The point is to get back to the point of normal muscle function — not to injure or over work yourself. So start slow…
For beginners, like me, it is recommended to start with a low density foam roller and to not apply too much pressure. My blue foam roller is a lower density and higher diameter. The more dense the foam, the more intense the feeling. The smaller the diameter, the more intense the feeling.
As you progress, get a denser and or smaller roller. For muscle groups that require a lot of focus, a lacrosse ball is recommended which can be graduated to a tennis ball, softball, base ball, and golf ball as you get more and more advanced.
It’s also not recommended to foam roll the lower back — I’ve been working with a Chiropractor and do a “doctor approved” modification standing with a wall — and sometimes a tennis ball to target the pressure points – be careful here! I wouldn’t want anyone to hurt themselves, so consult your doc!
For my First Foam Roll Monday I will be doing the following. Please note — I’ve foam rolled before, but not every Monday, so this routine is new-to-me and may require tweaking/additions/subtractions
- IT band
- Lower Back (With modifications and a tennis/lacrosse ball if needed)
Do you foam roll?
What is your routine?
How often do you foam roll?
What’s your favorite muscle group to foam roll?