foam roller

I'm sure foam rollers have been used by professional athletes for a very long time, but over the past few years, I've discovered what a powerful tool they can be in regards to recovery, injury prevention and overall muscle strength.

The term is intimidating, "self-myofascial release", but the idea is simple: Use your body weight to roll specific muscle groups against a firm foam roller to mimic a deep tissue massage.  With the foam roller you are able to control how much pressure you apply to the specific areas you are working on. 

According to Dr. Ben Kim, here are just some of the health benefits of foam rolling:

  • Improved blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments.

  • More efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level, leading to better overall cellular function and inter-cellular communication.

  • Lengthening of short (tight) muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Some muscles (like hip flexors) and ligaments (iliotibial band) are prone to shortening, and are difficult to effectively stretch and apply therapeutic pressure to using standard massage and trigger point therapy techniques. But with a foam roller, you can apply deep pressure massage to such areas and lengthen shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can predispose you to injury.

  • Promotion of optimal spinal range of motion. You can accomplish this by slowly rolling your spine against a foam roller and pausing whenever you feel restrictions to allow your joints and surrounding tissues to stretch.

Where do I start? 

HERE ARE MY FAVORITE AREAS TO FOAM ROLL:

1.  Calves: 

foam roller calves

Most physical activity that we do has a huge impact on our calves.  One major issue that we have is the amount of time we spend sitting in chairs...our calf muscles are in a shortened state most of the time.  The foam roller will help to lengthen these muscles and prevent imbalance.  

2.  Quadriceps:

foam roller quads

Again, this muscle group is involved in most everything we do.  When these muscles become shortened it affects the hip function and places major stress on your lower back. 

3.  Upper back:

foam roller back

This area of your back is meant for rotation and extension.  Using the foam roller in this area will improve upper back flexibility, posture and range of movement. 

FYI:  You will be sore the next day!  Just like after massage, drink plenty of water, get a good sleep, and eat well. This will help to flush your system and fuel your muscles more effectively. Give it 24-48 hours before rolling the the same area again.

Good Luck!!

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