Have you seen others at the gym rolling themselves over what looks like an oversized pool noodle? If you haven’t tried it yet, you should, and we’ll give you the pointers so you can try it for yourself!
The foam roller is a great tool to have at home to work through a tender muscle group after a strenuous workout or in the days following a personal training session at our clinic. If you haven’t tried a foam roller, or are questioning if your technique is helping, we have the 4-1-1 on foam rolling with the assistance of Thomas DuBois, Certified Massage Therapist at Kambeitz Chiropractic.
The first thing to understand is that foam rolling is not stretching nor should it be a replacement for stretching. Although some level of passive stretch may occur while foam rolling, the intention of foam rolling is to break up adhesions and scar tissue as well as induce a neuromuscular relaxation. The aim of stretching is to lengthen a muscle and foam rolling will never lengthen an muscle the way stretching does because it does not take the muscle to the end range of its motion. Foam rolling should be done in addition to stretching, not in place of.
The roller works best on large superficial muscle groups which includes hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, IT bands calves, superficial glutes, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae (which are the groups of muscles that create the columns on either side of the spine).
When rolling over your muscles, you will find areas that are more tender feeling than others. Feel free to hold pressure on this area for thirty seconds or until the tender feeling decreases. Whichever comes first. If the area is so tender that it causes your muscle to feel as though it is tightening in response to using to the pressure, lighten up. Avoid using the roller over bony surfaces.
The next time you’re visiting with one of personal trainers or massage therapists, be sure to ask for a complimentary copy of common foam roller exercises and areas to work. These instructions can lead you through a good general full body foam rolling routine.