How Can Foam Rolling Help & When Should You Do It?
What Does Foam Rolling Do?
You hear a lot of about Foam Rolling these days. Doctors and Therapists prescribe it. Trainers recommend it. Runners, Gym-Goers, and Athletes of all levels implement it in to their routines.
But, Why? What Does it Do?
There are a lot of potential reasons why foam rolling is beneficial. Many hypothesize that it will draw blood to the muscles and tissues you are rolling, thus helping them warm up and cool down. This is a practical explanation.
Some also suggest that it could help break up scar tissue, although many (including myself), feel that breaking up scar tissue is a more difficult and painful process.
Thankfully there are 2 main studies that looked in to the effects of foam rolling and here's what they found:
You can improve Range of Motion by foam rolling.
You can relieve muscular soreness after an intense workout by foam rolling.
Improved Range of Motion Whether you lift weights, run, play sports or even do yoga, improved range of motion can have a positive effect on your activity.
Not only can improved range of motion help you avoid injuries with your activity, it can also help you become stronger.
Decreased range of motion can be a bad thing because your body recruits muscle groups when it cannot extend fully through a certain movement. This can lead to injury because these recruited muscles are now doing movements they are not designed to do, throwing off your body's natural mechanics.
But, foam rolling prior to a workout can prevent this improper recruitment of muscles.
Also, freer range of motion helps you stay stronger throughout the entire range of your movements (think weight lifting, a running a stride, or even a yoga move).
Decreased Soreness Another study found that foam rolling after an intense workout can cut down on that sore feeling for up to 2 days post-workout.
The reason for this is again due to increased range of motion.
For instance, after a long run, your muscles have a tendency to tighten and shorten. Foam rolling can help restore the proper range of motion and take tension off the muscles.
This will allow the muscles to recover more quickly. And in turn, you'll have less soreness.