On yesterday’s “Fitness Essentials” post, I talked about how a foam roller is one of my essential pieces of at-home workout equipment. It is also something I recommend to my FITTER program team to do at least 2x per week, but really I would extend that recommendation to most people that are exercising frequently and have no medical contraindications to myofascial release. (Talk to your doctor before starting any new type of exercise or recovery method.) I find it to significantly help my muscles recover after a workout and the implementation of foam rolling following my run days has helped me avoid the irritation of an old stress fracture in my lower left shin back from my marathon training days (when I did NOT responsibly foam roll when I should have.) Also, it can really hurt in some places, but it can also really feel great in some places. It’s important to know when the pain is good and when it’s not. Read on.
(In case you need one, this is the foam roller I have.)
So what is self-myofascial release, aka “foam rolling”?
Self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This method can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, Theracane, or your own hands. 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. (source)
This blog post by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (from where I am a credentialed & licensed Certified Personal Trainer) does an excellent job of explaining how to roll, what areas to roll, what areas should be avoided, etc.
My go-to muscles that I typically do are my calves, hamstrings, quads, butt, and back. I actually filmed all mine and then for some reason YouTube decided to not let me upload them. I am not techy enough to figure it out so I gave up after about 20 minutes ugh. Sorry 🙂 I’ll try again with the videos later but wanted to get this blog post up now. Anyways, there are other muscles you can do too, which you can read more about and see on this blog post with picture demos. This is also a helpful beginner video.
There are also other ways to use a foam roller, which you can see ideas for here!
Let me know if you have any questions!