Let’s have a little basic foam rolling class shall we? Foam rolling may sound complicated or like an “elite athletes only” practice, but it is a great way for people of any fitness level to relax their muscles, reduce pain, cool down, and recover faster.
What is Foam Rolling?
Foam rollers are foam cylinders of varying lengths that you use to myofascial massage your muscles by rolling it along various body parts. Your speed and how much weight you put on the roller effects how deeply the massage works. A foam roller, even though it may look comfy is actually quite the opposite. The first few times I foam rolled I may have screamed out loud some not-so-nice things.
Why Foam Roll?
Injury prevention and recovery is probably the number one reason people foam roll. I started foam rolling when I injured my IT band last spring. Now I foam roll after every run and often after walks as well—my IT band tightens up very quickly. Foam rolling is also a great cool down and helps your muscles recover faster whether you are injured or not. I recently heard Jillian Michaels recommend a foam roller as the best way to cool down after any workout on her podcast. Foam rolling can also just be a great massage! I love to foam roll my back—so much more enjoyable than foam rolling my IT band area!
How Do I Foam Roll?
Here are some videos I’ve referenced on foam rolling techniques:
Foam Rolling for Runners (Quads, Hips, IT band, Adducters, Glutes,)
Foam Rolling for Lower Back Pain (Low back, Back, and Glutes)
Full Body Roll Out (Includes a lot of the above as well, around the 10 minute mark she starts on upper body)
My tube also came with instructions to roll out various body parts, but sometimes it’s helpful to see someone else actually doing it in real time.
Where do I get a foam roller?
You are in luck because almost everywhere sells a basic foam roller! Your local sporting goods store, running store, Target, Wal-Mart, and of course Amazon.com will have them! You can get cheap ones for as little as $15 but with heavy use they wear out faster. My foam roller is The Grid. I have been very happy with it and it has great reviews.
I hope this info on basic foam rolling has been helpful to you. Foam rolling is one thing I wish I had started sooner. It is NOT just for marathoners and body builders.
You can also do the same type of massage with a tennis ball. Just roll it over or roll over it where you are experiencing tightness or pain. It’s not ideal for all the exercises, but it will do the trick in some spots!
Do you foam roll? Where do you find foam rolling helps you most? Any other questions about foam rolling I can (try) to answer for you?