Foam rollers are an inexpensive, resourceful way to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and preventing injuries.
Now, a foam roller is merely a large cylinder made of dense foam. By using one’s own bodyweight, anyone can give themselves a deep massage using a foam roller.
By lying on a roller and administering self-massage, you accomplish what’s called trigger point and myofascial release. It’s a fancy way of saying that you’re relieving tight, knotted muscles.
This muscular tightness affects your posture & the way you move – this can actually impair proper movement, making exercise more stressful and strenuous on the body than it normally would. Yet, a foam roller could fix this!
Additionally, foam rolling can help promote blood flow to the muscles, which is especially helpful for warming up, as well as promoting better recovery between workouts.
Foam Roll Before or After Workouts?
Foam rolling can be done both before and after a workout. And it is important to do it in both occasions – here’s why:
- Foam rolling before a workout, as said before, is helpful for warming up because it promotes blood flow to the muscles. Think of it as the warm-up to your warm-up; you roll out, then do your conventional warm-up.
- Foam rolling after a workout helps recovery and reduce soreness (again, because of improved blood flow). When we workout, waste products build up in our muscles, which our bodies respond to with soreness. The blood flow helps “flush out” these waste products.
If you aren’t foam rolling before and after workouts, it’s time to start!
Common Mistakes with Foam Rolling
As simple as it seems, foam rolling can still be performed improperly.
Here are a few common mistakes you should when using a foam roller:
- Rolling directly on an injury; injuries need rest, not stress. The last thing you want on an injury is to apply pressure to it with a foam roller.
- Foam rolling too quickly; take your time finding & working on spots that are particularly tight and sore. These areas need extra attention, so rushing your foam rolling would negate any benefit.
- Staying on one spot for too long; an individual muscle group can have multiple spots that need rolling. Multiply that by many other muscle groups, and you’ve got a whole laundry list of spots to roll out. Spending too much time on one spot will make it impossible to get everything done.
- Using poor posture and breath control; due to the discomfort of foam rolling, many people will hold their breath and scrunch up into a bad posture. Foam rolling should promote better posture, not ruin it. And there is no reason to hold your breath – you aren’t diving underwater!
Important Areas to Foam Roll
When foam rolling, there are a number of areas you should prioritize and target:
- Upper back and lats; these parts of your body get very tight from all the sitting and desk-like work we all do.
- IT band and quadriceps; the tightness & poor tissue quality of these two areas can cause knee pain in the long run.
- Glutes; this part of our bodies is worked heavily in a properly-designed program, so it deserves a good amount of rolling for warm-ups and aided recovery.
At GameChanger, we implement foam rolling before and after workouts because it helps our members take their game to the next level.
By being able to train more consistently and frequently, our adults to lose more weight in the long run and our athletes to see greater performance gains going into their seasons.