All the cool kids are doing it. In fact, your mom is probably doing it too.
It’s in high schools, colleges, people’s homes, public gyms. Everywhere.
You can find one at Ross, Marshalls, Big 5, Amazon, and pretty much anywhere else stuff is sold. And it's supposed to have awesome health benefits. Buuuut...when things hit mainstream and everyone's doing it, things can get a little weird.
Yes, i'm talking about the foam roller.
We push our students to get from the things they do, rather than get through them. So while people are flailing about on their foam rollers, telling you how brutal it is, and spending most of their workout "foam rolling," allow us to help you get the most bang for your buck.
If you are going to take the time to do it, you might as well get something benefit. But that’s just me. I like to see results from my activities.
As Kelly Starrett says, all humans should be able to perform basic maintenance on their bodies. At the end of the day, you have to take responsibility for your body. The only way you will ever be pain free and reach your potential - which is far greater than what most people believe or achieve - is if you decide that it is up to you. Unfortunately, going to the doctor with an injury usually ends with the advice of “take these meds, don’t do anything for 8 weeks.”
There’s more to it.
Key points on foam rolling:
Muscles should be pliable, without tenderness, and able to move without restriction. If you press into the inner thigh area near the top of the knee and it’s super tender…that’s not what healthy muscle tissue should feel like.
Lack of movement, repetitive movement, injury, trauma can cause the buildup of adhesions and/or scar tissue. Inadequate hydration, poor posture, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also contribute.
When you have these blocks, they restrict movement and thus results in the aforementioned tenderness and pain.
The less you move and break up that junk, the nastier those areas become. On top of that, if you attempt to lift some heavy shit (or do anything athletic) you may end up messing some stuff up because of your lack of movement.
As Mark Reifkind says, you can’t have a bent frame on your car and not expect it to cause problems. Something’s gotta give. Furthermore, if you drive around with the emergency brake on, you’ll really mess some shit up.
Your FIRST job is to REMOVE restrictions. This will truly unleash your strength and movement ability. Foam rolling is one way to do this.
How to do it: You are “hunting” for those tender spots on your body. When you find one, go over it slowly while breathing until it releases.
If you do not breathe, your body will continue to send the signal to the muscle to remain tight and your foam rolling efforts will be futile.
When you breathe, you the muscle will relax and allow the foam roller to get deeper and release the gunk
Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration will greatly increase mobility and help release adhesions.
Here's a good basic sequence to start off:
If you foam roll in this manner for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you will GREATLY improve the quality of your movement and lifting. Do it right people, don’t just do stuff because everyone else is doing it. In the end, your job is to become more aware and in tune with your body. And thus you can ascend to your next form.