It’s no news that there’s simply nothing worse than having sore muscles, and we’ve all seen those long, coloured foamy thingamabob’s that are meant to help with the pain.
But what are they, and what do they actually DO?
To get all technical, foam rollers perform something called self-myofascial release. Really, it’s a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
Trigger points are specific “knots” that form in muscles. They are unique and can be identified because they will refer pain. Pain referral, for our purposes, can most easily be described as the pain felt when pressure is applied to one area of the body, but the pain is felt or radiated in another area.
To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second.When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen.
Releasing trigger points helps to reestablish proper movement patterns and pain free movement, and ultimately, to enhance performance.
And of course, make you feel back on track to keep exercising!