Foam Roller--Friend or Foe?
We’ve all seen those foam rollers that look like stiff spaghetti noodles in the corner at the gym and wondered about them. If you’ve never seen anyone use them, you might wonder what they’re for. If you have used them, then you may wonder how the pain could possibly benefit you after a rough workout. Either way, you should learn more about them, so here’s some information that should help. After an especially rough workout, these are used for what is known as “myofascial release.” What does that mean? It’s basically a mini sports massage without making an appointment. The best time to use a foam roller is before a workout for what the trainers call SMR and mobilizing. At any point during the stretching, there shouldn’t be too much pain. The roller helps you stretch those hard to reach muscles and tendons.
Muscles tighten up when they’re stressed and that can create additional soreness if it’s not worked out. Instead of letting this build up, you can roll over this stiff foam noodle and it will break up those trigger points in your body. As you soothe these muscles with the stretch, you’re also increasing the amount of blood flow to that area, which helps your muscles recover faster. The static stretching that you perform with a foam roller after your workout is also helpful. You’ll also discover that your range of motion improves when you use the foam roller because it prevents the adhesion of your muscles to your skin. If this happens, then you end up with less movement from your muscles during every day activities and this can cause injuries over time. If you are working out at the gym, then you already have access to this wonderful tool, but if not, they are very inexpensive. Just like stretching after a workout, you should incorporate the use of this regularly. You can also talk to a trainer at the gym and have them show you exactly how to use this on every part of your body. Don’t be afraid of that foam noodle in the corner now that you know how beneficial it is. It’s another great tool to not only make your workouts more effective, but extend those results at the same time!