Friday, January 22, 2021

Using Foam Rollers Before And After Exercising.

One of my students brought a foam roller to class and in the middle of class began using it.  He said it was great for his back and made it feel better.  I wondered how well they worked for backs or perhaps after an exercise session. 

The use of foam rollers is classified as self-myofascial release system.  Foam rollers can help relieve tight muscles, soreness, cut down on inflammation, and increase range of motion of joints.  It is recommended that people incorporate the use of foam rollers in a warm-up at the beginning of a workout or during the cool down at the end.

It is possible the use of a foam roller when used during the cool down segment of a work out can delay muscle soreness especially if the roller is used regularly.  In addition, using the foam roller with static stretching at the end of the workout is more effective in increasing the range of motion rather than just using static stretching or foam rollers. When used as part of the warm-up, it can improve mobility without decreasing athletic performance. 

Although there is research indicating one can use foam rollers to reduce back pain, one must take care so as not to injure the back.  If you want to use a foam roller on your back, the roller should be parallel to the spine and you roll it side to side rather than having the roller perpendicular to the spine.  It is also recommended one not use foam rollers if you have a serious injury.  Do not use them on joints, such as knees or elbows since it can hyperextend them or cause damage.

The foam roller is a good way to stretch various parts of the body.  Use it with your calves to help release the tenseness in the muscles and improve ankle mobility which decreases potential injury, while improving sports performance.  It can also be done first thing in the morning to get rid of any ankle stiffness or if you've been sitting too long.

When foam rollers are used on hamstrings, it can help improve hip mobility while decreasing stress on the lower back and improve sports performance.  If you use the foam rollers on the quads at the front of the leg, it can improve flexibility of the knee and hips,  and decreases the stress on the knee cap.  As mentioned earlier, foam rollers can ease lower back pain if done properly. Furthermore, it is great to use foam rollers on the outside of the thigh area, especially for women because they have tighter outer thighs.  When the foam roller is used on the outer thigh between the hip and the knee, it can decrease the amount of stress experienced by those muscles.  

When foam rollers are used in the shoulders and sides, it can relieve the built up stress of the upper back and shoulders area.  It eliminates muscle knots by decreasing the tightness of muscle fibers and releasing stress.  Finally, the foam roller when applied to the rear end, activates various layers of glutes, improves blood flow, making you more stable.  

The use of foam rollers can help release stress from head to toe.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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