Movement of the Month: Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a regular massage with your favorite massage therapist? You can make an appointment with yourself using an inexpensive exercise tool and find relief from sore muscles and “knots”.  This simple and targeted workout can even increase the flexibility and range of motion in your joints. The magic tool required here is a long foam roller, they are usually sold in 36 inch lengths and come in three different densities, low, firm, or with some texture like bumpy spots. Foam rolling has been around since the 1980s and is popular among athletes, physical therapists, massage therapists, and the average gym member.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique. It can be an effective tool to add to your warm-up or cool down, before or after your workout and especially after more strenuous hikes and runs.   Rolling relieves muscle tightness, soreness, inflammation, and increases your joint range of motion – I call it “ironing out the muscles” to gain more length. By kneading the muscles and fascia with a roller, we can slowly break down and release tense spots or tissue “knots”  and add length to the muscle tissue. You can improve flexibility, body composition, performance, and reduce injuries. It is magic and I hope you will give it a try!

I teach a regular Foam Rolling & Stretch class on Fridays at 7:45am via Zoom and you are welcome to join. Just let me know and I will send you the log-in information.

You’ll find foam rollers usually in the stretching area of your gym, online or in any sports store like Big 5, Target, or Sports Basement. Make sure you get a 36 in roller so you can lie lengthwise on it, too.

If you have never done foam rolling before, start slow and don’t do anything that is too uncomfortable. Increase the intensity over time and listen to your body. Even a few minutes every day can do wonders!

Popular areas to roll out with a foam roller are the calves (not during pregnancy), front, inside, outside, and backside of the thighs, buttocks, and the upper back.

Some guidelines:

  • Start by completing 30 – 60 seconds of foam rolling per muscle area.
  • Roll the area slowly and focus on tissue adhesions (tender spots) as you hit them.
  • Search the area for tenderness and hold form rolling on the “hot-spot” for about 10-15 sec. Repeat the area a few times until tenderness has subsided.
  • Slowly roll back and forth in the desired area.
  • Do not do foam rolling in areas with painful varicose veins, in an area that is very painful or on bony body structures like kneecaps.
  • To get started, look for YouTube videos, foam rolling classes,  a personal trainer, a physical therapist, or join me for my weekly 45 minute class on Fridays at 7:45am, Pacific Time.