Foam rolling is a fairly new thing for me, before I moved to LSF Gym I’d never heard of them. Andy suggested using it to help release any muscle knots from my cycling. Sweet baby jeebus!! It was gooooooooooooooooood but it also hurt; adding additional hand pressure just amplifies the pain/pleasure that emanates from these little rolls of plastic. I now own my own little torture roll & have combined breakfast eating with rolling before.
There are many types of foam rollers, some are harder than others – these hurt more & some have grid/nodule patterns on them. When I started foam rolling I’d opt for the softer version, however the one I purchased was a medium density foam, because I’d used the harder ones in the gym and they’re evil – good evil but not something I’d want to use all the time. The one in the image is identical to mine.
Foam rolling has a posh name; SMR meaning Self Myofascial Release. Essentially, it’s like having a massage without paying for a therapist every day to help get blood flowing through your muscles, relieves soreness as well as stiffness. It’s good to do as part of your warm up, however I tend to use mine if I have epic DOMS, or if my back/hips are more angry than usual. I usually stick to IT band, glutes & have recently started doing my quads. I need to do my lats after doing some heinous dumbbell moves yesterday.
Apparently you can use them for more than just rolling to help ease muscles – however I’m not going to comment on that as, aside from using mine as a little seat from time to time, I’ve used it for its original purpose…..sort of. I don’t do full body rolls with mine, but I have seen people do them in the gym. I might reach the stage where I feel a full roll is necessary before training, however for now it’s my DOMS helper.
I found this pretty helpful video on Livestrong Women for a full roll:
As she says in the video:
- It will hurt
- Pause if you find a knot
- Hold your form
- Never roll over a joint
They really are evil little devices & will probably be the most “ouchy” part of your training, but you feel so much better afterwards! I’ll be honest, I wondered what the point of them was when they were introduced to me, but I’ve never needed to question Andy’s methods; I’ll tell him he’s mean – but he always has the clients well-being in the forefront of his mind, so I do as I’m told. I’m glad I was introduced to the evilness of foam rolling. It’s helped SO much!
I bought mine locally from TK Maxx, but I know places like Argos, John Lewis & sports stores sell them – you could get one on-line but I prodded and poked all the rollers in store til I found one that was a good density.