Using a foam roller can achieve many of the benefits a traditional, remedial massage delivers, sans the price tag.
Foam rolling, also known as myofascial release, is the application of low-intensity pressure to soft tissues or about 30-90 seconds.
Ultimately, the purpose of foam rolling is to allow contracted muscles to relax, and improve blood flow to the area. The effect is that muscles operate with smoother motion because of reduced internal rubbing.
In addition, foam rolling can help increase range of motion, as the pressure of the roller helps lubricate the muscles. With better range of motion you will be left with less friction, meaning muscles are less likely to be pulled or damaged during your workout.
If you’re new to myofascial release, it’s important to know when and how to do it.
Foam rolling is best performed before and after a workout. Rolling prior to your workout can help decrease muscle density and promote a better warm up. On the contrary, rolling post-workout helps to speed recovery. Because you are boosting blood circulation, your body is more effectively carrying nutrients, like oxygen, that the body needs to recover after exertion.
When planning your next workout, try this simple guide and feel the benefits!
Foam rolling your calves:
Sit with legs extended, right leg resting on the foam roller, left leg crossed over top, and hands positioned behind hips. Slowly lift hips off the floor and begin rolling up right leg, traveling from the base of the calf muscle to just below the back of your knee – hold pressure on tight spots for 30 to 90 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Foam rolling exercise sourced form Shape.com.