"Please feel free to grab a foam roller and roll out in the functional area before leaving." You hear us say it after most classes, but what exactly is foam rolling...and why should you do it?
Foam rolling is a type of myofascial release (massages are another form). Our muscles are covered with a web-like matrix called fascia which, due to inflammation or trauma, can become restricted - or what we feel as "knots." Myofascial release involves applying a constant, yet gentle pressure to the connective tissue to help eliminate pain and restore normal range of motion. Sustained pressure at the very edge of these knots helps release them.
Typically, foam rolling is seen as a restorative practice - something that is done after an intense workout or to alleviate any preexisting pain and improve soft tissue extensibility and muscle relaxation. However, it can be done pre-workout to warm up your muscles.
We also recommend working it into your daily routine as a preventative measure. Squeeze it in while you enjoy your favorite TV show, easy peasy. If you spend a lot of time on your feet or in heels for work, try rolling out your feet each morning or evening while you brush your teeth. Smaller lacrosse balls or "trigger point" balls are great for targeting smaller areas.
Here are a few pointers to get started:
> Gently roll until you feel a knot, moving slowly in a wave-like motion
> Apply pressure to the edge of the knot, hold for at least 90 seconds
> Only apply pressure to muscle, never to bone These are 8 of the most common muscles to foam roll:
*pet assistance optional