Episode 79 – 5 Essential Foam Rolling tips
Episode 79 – 5 Essential Foam Rolling tips
Foam rollers have grown in popularity and for very good reasons.
Foam rollers are versatile, affordable, and quite effective as a means of self-massage and recovery — when used properly. Here are five (5) essential foam rolling tips to follow to fast track your peak performance.
1. Don’t roll over joints
Foam rolling directly over joints is a no go! Any foam rolling over the joints may affect the proprioceptive nerves around the joint area. This may send mixed signals to your brain with regards to where your joint is in time and space (read: spatial awareness), and this can have a myriad of consequences such as an increased risk of injury – obviously, you don’t want that!
2. Avoid the lower back and neck
Got a tight lower back or neck? As tempting as it may be to target these common tight areas of the body, they are rarely the direct source of tightness. Tightness in these areas may actually be due to other muscles around them so you are better off focusing on them instead. For example, if your back is tight, you may need to focus on your legs (such as hamstrings) whereas if your neck is tight it might actually be your upper traps and pec minors (chest muscles).
On the same token, it may be a muscle activation issue. One of the reasons these muscles may be tight is the overuse of a particular muscle or, inactivation or under recruitment of a muscle with a similar function. For example, in the case of a tight back, it may be underactive gluts and overused hamstrings. So in this case, it would be smarter to work on activating gluts along with loosening hamstrings.
Definitely, something to consider!
What are two other essential foam rolling tips to follow to fast track your peak performance? Read on below.
3. Roll towards the heart.
This is quite important particularly for beginners and older individuals. Why is this important?
Simply put, veins have valves inside them to help guide the direction of blood flow. Rolling towards the heart helps to work along the same direction of those valves and thus facilitates blood flow. Simultaneously, this may help to prevent bruises and possible injury to your circulatory system as well. When foam rolling, you want to work with your blood circulation so perform it towards your heart.
4. Know your foam rolling technique
Do you know when to foam roll and why? There are two basic types of foam rolling with each type having its own specific purpose:
Prehabilitation foam rolling is usually performed before a workout. This is to help loosen your muscles for the activities ahead.
- Posture and Recovery
Posture and recovery-based foam rolling is performed after training and is good for assisting your body to recover optimal posture as well as remove toxins and other by-products of metabolism out of the lymphatic system and towards your liver and kidneys for processing. Know which type will be more appropriate for your needs and when.
5. Respond quickly to Pain
There’s bound to be a little discomfort! If you’re starting out, the key point to remember is that if you feel pain you should take it easy, start lightly, and build into longer and more intense sessions over time. While it’s normal to feel a slight discomfort, unbearable pain is not cool. Take your time!
Roll up, roll up! Get your foam roller!
These five (5) essential foam rolling tips are things that you should keep in mind every time you take out your foam roller for proper, effective workouts and more importantly, injury-free recovery.
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Feel free to watch my old video.
- Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
- Cooley, B. (2005) The Genius of Flexibility: The smart way to stretch and strengthen your body. Fireside
- Erhman, J. Gordon, P. Visich, P. Keteyian, S. (2003) Clinical Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
- Myers, T. (2009) Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists (2nd Ed.). Churchill Livingstone
- Porth, C. (2002) Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States (6th Ed.) Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
- Scientific Publishing, Ltd. (no author) (2006) Scientific Publishing’s Anatomy Chart Book. Scientific Publishing Limited
- Sherwood, L.(2004) Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems (5th Ed.) Thomson, Brooks/Cole
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