When you come into The Gym for a training session, you will likely see members lying on the floor, using foam rollers, soft balls, lacrosse balls, or peanuts on their muscles. Often, you will see something along the lines of “roll” or “crush” written on the board, along with the day’s workout.
They aren’t just lying around for fun. They’re foam rolling, a technique also called Self-Myofascial Release. Foam rolling is designed to work the “knots” out of your muscles. The technical term for those knots are “trigger points” or “myofascial adhesions.” These develop through stress, overuse, underuse, mobility issues, and injuries. Rolling out doesn’t only help improve your performance, it can also help curb further dysfunction and even prevent injury.
We admit, foam rolling isn’t done for comfort. However, you can control the amount of pressure you’re applying, easing the pain factor as needed. Learning how to control the amount of pressure to a place of mild, tolerable discomfort is important, as the objective of foam rolling is to help the area relax. Instinct when finding a sensitive spot will be to pull away, but working through it with the appropriate amount of pressure should lead to relief – think of it as air being let out of a tire.
Foam rolling can be performed both before and after your workout. When foam rolling before a workout, focus on problem areas. Foam rolling is designed to reduce tension and relax muscles. Doing this on a healthy muscle might relax it too much, causing it to be less effective during your workout. For those tense muscles, however, rolling them out before a workout can help improve mobility and the quality of your workout. Foam rolling after a workout can help alleviate soreness and increase flexibility in already warm muscles.
Foam rollers are a quick and easy tool that you can even use at home. Regular foam rolling will not only improve your workouts, but can help prevent injuries from from happening in the first place.
In addition to foam rollers, tools like lacrosse balls and “peanuts” can also be used to facilitate self myofascial release. We have a collection of foam rollers, balls, and more at The Gym, as well as knowledgeable staff (and gym members!) who are always happy to offer advice and recommendations on how foam rolling can help you.