Sunday, 28 June 2009
What is foam rolling?
Foam Rollers are used both as a warm-up before a workout and as part of your post-workout recovery. Foam rollers (and other self massage items such as The Stick) are used to perform what is known as a self-myofascial release. Foam rolling provides greater improvements in flexibility and joint range of motion, and helps to eliminate that “tight” feeling of overworked muscles. This allows you to train harder and longer while reducing the likelihood of injury.
As CrossFitters, we may think we are doing enough for muscular recovery because we “stretch”. However, once you place a foam roller on your IT Band, you will quickly realize that your soft tissue may be in more need of help than you think. By using some simple foam rolling techniques, you can begin to correct or re-establish normal soft tissue function.
The recovery benefits come from the ability to “work” on soft tissue areas that just are not easily managed by static stretching (like your IT Band or psoas). The other benefit that static stretching cannot offer is the compression that the foam roller applies to the soft tissue. The compression (from your body weight on the foam) provides a release similar to what you might get from massage or trigger point therapy.
By providing this release of tension within specific muscles and other soft tissue elements, an athlete can regain or maintain their full functional range of motion. This improved range of motion (or maintaining adequate ROM) allows an athlete to train without compensating or altering their natural movement patterns, which will ultimately allow them to train without further developing muscle imbalances or greater muscular tension.
Where can I buy foam rollers?
You can get a basic version for under $25 at Target. This is a less dense foam roller good for beginners or those with very tight muscles.
Want the hard core version? Tramp down to your local Home Depot, purchase a big piece of PVC (5″ wide, 3′ long) and cover it with a yoga mat or something else a little bit squishy. (Warning – not for the faint of heart.)
How do I foam roll?