Written by: Kate Allott – Anytime Fitness National Fitness Coordinator
Benefits of Foam Rolling
Weak and over-stretched scapular muscles? Sore neck? Tight traps and hip flexors? If you work in an office, it’s likely you have experienced at least one, if not, all of these. Tight muscles are a problem as they unbalance opposing muscle groups, which can lead to muscle and joint dysfunction and injury. Sitting in a constant state of triple flection can also decrease the mobility of the joints, leading to soft tissue damage and premature joint wear.
Luckily, preventing or repairing this damage can be done in the form of foam rolling. It’s easy to do, and uses an inexpensive piece of equipment that is readily available in sports shops and department stores, meaning it can be done in the gym or at home.
Foam rolling is a form of Self-Myofascial Release (SMR), which stretches and loosens muscles. Myofascial release is the application of force to your muscles and connective tissue over time. Essentially, the purpose is to allow contracted muscles to relax, which improves blood flow and nutrients such as oxygen and glycogen to the area. The effect is that muscles move past one another with less friction, meaning that during a workout, movements are smoother and muscles are less likely to be pulled or damaged. SMR can have a wide range of benefits, such as better movement and increased range of motion, better mobility, and improving performance. These benefits can decrease the chance of injury and decrease recovery time after a workout.
In a perfect world, SMR would be done both before a workout and as part of a cool down. However if you are short on time, before the workout is the most important. Completing SMR before a workout helps to get the blood flowing and helps to reduce tension in muscles. Rolling for as little as five minutes before a workout can have a great impact on the quality of each training session. Rolling as part of a cool down helps to flush out blood that has pooled in the working muscles and allows fresh nutrients and oxygen to come in and begin the healing process.
Try this Upper Body Foam Rolling session from our Anytime Workouts app, focusing on each area for at least 30 seconds:
- Upper Back
- Lower Back
For how to videos on the above and for other foam rolling workouts, check out the Anytime Workouts App. Full details can be read on our website: anytimefitness.com.au/anytime-workouts/