I just discovered the magical world of foam rolling last week, and I can’t believe I didn’t make it part of my training regimen earlier! I’m already noticing that my flexibility has improved, as well as increased circulation and just better all around mobility. Within a few minutes of rolling out my back I also got rid of a couple kinks that had been irritating me for a long time (I’m sure my fellow lifters will understand). Not to mention the fact that a nice long session on a foam roller is very relaxing and a great way to relieve stress, since it’s basically a massage.
But anyways, that’s been my personal experience in less than a week of using my roller, I’m excited to see what results come of using it in the future. Specifically I’m curious if it will help me get my splits. I’m really close with my left leg, but my hip flexors are so incredibly tight most of the time that it takes forever to loosen them up. I’m betting that using a foam roller on my hip flexors and quads on a regular basis will help with that.
Of course, my limited experience probably isn’t going to be enough motivation for you to buy a foam roller, so let me give you some more scientific reasons why it is so good for you.
(1. Myofascial Release – Myofascial tissue is a kind of connective tissue that spreads throughout your body and serves as support and protection for your bones and muscles. Applying a gentle, sustained pressure to the tissue can help relieve tension in the fascia caused by inflammation, trauma, or intense workouts. Needless to say, this is incredibly important and beneficial for athletes or those who work out on a regular basis. Using a foam roller can provide myofascial release as you give yourself a massage treatment.
(2. Circulation – Foam rolling significantly increases blood flow, from the deepest layers of tissue to your muscles and skin. This can help relieve soreness, prevent injury, and keep your muscles and tissue healthy and mobile for life. As someone who has had circulation issues for forever, I can’t tell you how good it feels to have blood flowing properly in your entire body.
(3. Mobility – Foam rolling can also significantly improve mobility and flexibility, by working out knots in your muscles, unlocking joints, and relaxing and stretching out muscles and tissue.
(4. Stress Relief – We all know a good back rub or massage feels amazing. Foam rolling is basically the art of giving yourself a massage, which is awesome because it costs you nothing (besides the price of the roller itself), and you can do it anytime and anywhere. Working out knots in your muscles, or just slowly, methodically rolling over your entire body with calm music in the background is very relaxing and an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Alright, time to get yourself a foam roller! What do you have to lose? I promise you won’t regret it. There are a ton of options as far as brands of foam rollers you can buy. I personally love my 13″ TriggerPoint Foam Roller. It’s designed with a grid like pattern that mimics fingertip and other forms of massage. It’s sturdy, firm enough to get the job done, but soft enough to be comfortable. And it’s very affordable, which is a definite bonus!