Importance of Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling

 

What is it?

Foam rolling is a form of Self Myofascial Release (SMR); SMR will keep trigger points and scar tissue broken up within the muscle and fascia, allowing greater tissue extensibility and the normal functioning and motions of the muscles.

 

Why is it such an important part of your training schedule?

When your muscles are sore from activity, multiple of the muscle fibers are contracted into a small knot, ball or thickened area, whilst the rest of the muscles is stretched and relaxed in its normal position. Because this part of the muscle is already contracted, you limit the ability to stretch and contract that muscle when exercising, thus eliminating any potential gains in that area of the muscle (BSC, 2015)

 

The benefits?

The benefits of foam rolling have to do with the mobility of the fascia. Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in our body. Without proper mobility, fibres of the fascia become cross linked and they bind to muscles and nerves, inhibiting normal motion and causing pain. Regular SMR greatly increases the performance capability of your muscles. The more flexible your muscles are within normal range of motion, the more power they will be able to produce. 

 

Isn’t static stretching enough?

We all know that static stretching is so important to factor into our daily training, but foam rolling done prior to stretching makes the session much more beneficial. For example rolling your hamstrings then performing a static stretch will increase hip range of motion compared to just stretching alone, this increased flexibility is from the increase blood flow to the area after using the foam roller.

 

How often should I foam roll?

Like anything your muscles need time to recover, so every second day is perfect for pulling out the roller. When you perform SMR, you want to make sure you roll along the whole length of the tissue that you are working on. If it’s your hamstring, you are going to roll from hip to knee. The same goes with the quadriceps and IT Band. There will be some tender spots along the way. That’s ok. Go over them, they will decrease in tenderness with regular SMR.

 

 

Foam rolling aids the body’s recovery process. It also;

 

-       Increases flexibility – foam rolling relaxes the muscles

-       Prevents injury - When you work out hard, your muscles end up tight and develop knots from constant stress. When you foam roll out the tight spots, it prevents those areas from becoming injury trigger points which could eventually lead to shin splints, neck immobility, and even a popped rib (mindbodygreen.com, 2013)

-       Just like getting a massage, foam rolling helps relax the body, which in turn makes the mind relaxed, allowing for a quick de-stress.

 

 

There are many different techniques with foam rollers and any one of the Commando Tough staff would happily show you. By helping to break up the knots in the muscle you also allow blood flow to return to normal which is extremely important for optimal muscle function.

 

Sources

 

http://www.bodyscience.com.au/blog/foam-rolling-how-it-can-help-you-and-your-training/

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10999/why-you-should-foam-roll-every-day.html


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