Understanding How and Why to Use a Foam Roller

What’s the big deal with foam rolling? Back in high school, your sports coach may have recommended self-massage to heal tired muscles or even injury.  Now, when you visit the physical therapist or chiropractor, the answer is likely the same. No matter how young or old, how limber or achey-breaky, foam rolling is the go to method for health care professionals, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts alike. But, have you ever stopped and wondered why?

What Is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling is a method that is used in training and rehabilitation in all different kinds of sports. Essentially, foam rolling helps to improve performance, relieve tension, and encourage circulation. With increased circulation and blood flow, athletes are able to cut down recovery time considerably and return to the things that they love to do. While overuse, inflammation, and surgical operation can all change the fascial tissue and lead to stiffening, immobility, and pain, foam rollers can help to efficiently work on the musculature of the body, thus improving mobility and bringing pain relief. Foam rolling allows you to reap the benefits of a deep tissue massage in the comfort of your own home (and without the extensive bill.)

How It Works

There are many reasons why health care practitioners recommend foam rolling as an addition to classical treatment. One major reason involves Myofascial Release. According to Health Line, Myofascial tissue surrounds and supports the muscles in the body. When these tissue tighten and become sensitive, it can create a great deal of pain within different “trigger points” which can be difficult to accurately locate. This is where foam rolling comes in. Covering a broad area of muscle tissue, a tool like a foam roller is able to provide a sense of release to those pain points. Self-massage with a foam roller is recommended before a workout in order to warm up the muscles and lower the chance of injury. It is also recommended as a post-workout ritual to aid in recovery and bring healthy blood flow to those tired muscles.

Common Benefits

Flexibility

According to the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, coupling foam rolling with traditional stretching may enhance range of motion in the hip more than static stretching, itself. Author and associate professor, Blaine Long states that foam rolling can lower a muscles’ “viscosity,” thus enhancing flexibility as well.

Performance

In recent years, researchers have discovered that standard stretching actually can have a negative impact on performance. A strong correlation has been found between static stretching and decreased reaction time.  Additionally, acute static stretching has been shown to significantly reduce muscle strength endurance. Unlike muscle stretching which can end up inhibiting the body, studies have determined that myofascial release using a foam roller does not have any negative impact on performance. So, athletes can keep on rolling without being off their game

Regeneration

In a 2015 study published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, researchers looked into the effects of foam rolling, also known as SMR (self-myofascial release). The goal was to determine its impact on DOMS, which stands for delayed-onset muscle soreness. Following the study, researchers reported, “SMR has been observed to decrease soreness following DOMS, which may indirectly enhance performance by allowing the individual to exercise longer and harder.”

Getting On a Roll

The versatile, cost-effective and transformative tool clearly boasts a great deal of benefits. Although, not everybody understands how to use it properly. This is why recovery and training company, ActiveLife Solutions selected Blackroll as one of their product lines. Blackroll offers people of all ages and backgrounds the tools to enhance strength, balance, and flexibility. Providing the best quality for the greatest impact, Blackroll combines foam-rolling products with a vast knowledge of the latest developments in research and scientific advancement. Developed in Germany, the company has grown tremendously in the fitness market, earning the prestigious Physio prize for the “product with the greatest range of benefits for its users”. 

The company’s dedication to its users continues to shine through with new developments, including the Blackroll® ‘Fascia Training’ app that is now available to supplement treatment and prevention. Providing versatile exercises for each body part and pain point, the app makes foam rolling even more convenient and effective than before.

With benefits ranging from flexibility to regeneration, it’s no wonder health gurus continue to swear by the power of foam rolling. While a cheap and effective modality of healing, it is important to get advised by a physiotherapist or other specialist when suffering from severe pain. It’s time to give your body some love and get rolling!

 

David Jackson

David is a personal finance expert, a professional male model, and an entertainment writer.