Foam rolling is no longer just a secret recovery regime used only by athletes. More technically known as SMR (Self Myofascial Release), it has now become a common part of many gym routines,, as it can help to warm the body up and also help with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), aiding and reducing recovery time between sessions.
What exactly is foam rolling?
As we mentioned earlier, foam rolling is also known as Self Myofascial Release, meaning that it releases the minute ‘fascia’ (sheets of connective tissue). Foam rolling can be compared to giving yourself a massage, as you use the device to roll various areas of your body.
Why should we foam roll?
When you commit to making foam rolling a part of your recovery routine, you may experience a number of benefits.
Better range of motion – Having a larger range of motion enables you to perform exercises more effectively. Foam rolling helps to elongate your muscles – so you’ll be going deeper in those squats, lower in those lunges, and higher in those box jumps!
Quicker recovery times – We’ve all experienced the dreaded DOMS the day or the second day after a workout. Although some may regard it as a badge of honour signifying a great session, it can also inhibit you from getting back in the gym as quickly as you want to. Foam rolling encourages faster recovery by increasing blood flow to the areas we need it, eliminating lactic acid buildup, and encouraging our bodies to transport vital nutrients to the area we’ve stimulated.
Decreased risk of injury – Foam rolling can also help us to prevent injuries by promoting recovery. Allowing the muscles to stretch and repair in between sessions lowers risk of injury from tightness and overuse.
Make time for foam rolling
So, the next time you hit the gym, schedule in a couple of minutes to show your body some love by foam rolling before and after.
- Roll slowly, as rolling too quickly won’t work as well. Roll each muscle group for two minutes.
- If you hit a tight spot, hold on that spot for 30 seconds. You should feel the tension release slowly.
- Never roll on a joint or bone or roll your lower back or spine. Instead position the foam roller parallel to the spine to target the upper and mid-back.
- If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area to gradually loosen.
- Drink plenty of water after. Your body needs to rid itself of the lactic acid released after rolling.
If you’re not sure what to do or how to start, have a chat to a friendly Anytime Fitness staff member in-club. They’ll be more than happy to help you out!