In the past, foam rolling was a technique that was employed only by fitness professionals and therapists. Now, more people are getting wind of this tool and using it by themselves. And why not? It is a great tool for prehab and rehab. Foam rolling assists in the self-myofascial release of the muscles, applying pressure at specific points which can help in muscle relaxation and recovery.
Besides having the knowledge of the correct techniques, using a foam roller suitable for your needs is also important. Here are some tips for to get you rolling (pun intended):
1. Choose for the firmness
Some foam rollers are harder than others. If you have only started exploring foam rolling, choosing a softer one will be ideal as it may be more comfortable for you and your muscles. As you become more familiar with the tool, you can opt to upgrade to a firmer one.
2. Get the right size
Some things are better when they are bigger, like a bank account and an exercise space. But don’t count on this rule when it comes to your foam roller. Getting a foam roller with the appropriate size depends on the muscle groups you want to work on. For example, a smaller one would be suitable for a smaller muscle group such as the forearm. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all foam roller, so it is best to experience different rollers before settling on the ideal one.
3. Slow down
Often, we know that our muscles are sore, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the specific sore area. Move the foam roller across the muscle slowly and pause when it reaches a particularly sore or tight area. Roll over that spot several times while continuing to breathe deeply. These deep breaths can help to the muscles to loosen and the tissue to relax. Holding your breath during the sessions would only render the session less effective as it causes your body to tense up.
While foam rolling can help your muscles to relax, but you need to ease into it. Instead of diving right into foam rolling every day, allow yourself and your body to become adjusted to it. It is normal to feel sore after a session, just like how you would be after a deep-tissue or sports massage. Be sure to hydrate yourself sufficiently and rest the muscle area for 24-48 hours before rolling the same area again.