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Foam Rolling: It’s a Good Thing!

Foam Rolling has many potentially valuable effects for the general population. One of the greatest benefits of foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, is to decrease lactic acid pain that can be experienced during a workout. The irony of foam rolling is that it can be quite painful, at least when you do it inconsistently or are just getting started with a Foam Rolling regimen.

With Foam Rolling you need to start appropriately. Starting with your iliotibial band with both legs stacked is probably not going to work well for you. You want to start with one leg and progress to two over time, as your pain tolerance increases (or better said, as your soft-tissue extensibility improves).

Foam rolling may help promote muscle balance around a joint if you first inhibit a short, tight, strong muscle and then immediately activate a long, flaccid, weak muscle on the opposite side of the joint. In layman’s terms, you soften the “tight” tissue and tighten the “soft” tissue.

Foam Rolling: It’s a Good Thing!

Though pressure is needed and it can be painful, too much pain is not a good thing. You need to do it properly so you do not create subsequent inflammation. Think of the foam roller as just another tool in your toolbox. You need to use it just as you would any tool. If you use a sander to smooth a piece of wood, you don’t sand too long or hard in one spot.  So like the sandpaper, just a few strokes with a foam roller may be enough.

If you do decide that the foam roller is a good warm-up tool, it doesn’t mean that you should use it on every muscle if the muscle doesn’t need to be rolled. A good rule of thumb is when you find that foam rolling is no longer painful, stop doing it before a workout. At that point you would use foam rolling as a separate restoration method as its own regimen for some relaxation later at night, but not before you train.

Foam Rolling: It’s a Good Thing!

As a restoration or training method, you need to determine what works well for you. You must always keep in mind that what works well for you today may not work well for you tomorrow. So, go ahead and experiment with foam rolling during your warm-ups. Once the pain of foam rolling diminishes, you will then move into using as its own regimen and not prior to training.  

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5 Comments

  1. I had a trainer years ago who introduced me to foam rolling, now I have my own at home and LOVE IT. I never understood exactly how it worked, but thanks to this article, it all makes sense now. I will start to make more use of this tool as I continue hammer & chiseling.

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