Holy hamstrings. My body is wound so tight these days with all of the heavy lifting that is a part of my training. I am using a foam roller as a part of my recovery.
This week the work it’s been about my lower body. The focus is foam roller hamstrings and rolling quads. I will say that I was impressed with the weight I was able to squat even though I thought my coach was a little crazy at the time.
When it gets to this point the foam roller and yoga mat become my best friends. I should use both more often and not just when I am tight as a rubber band, but it never turns out that way. Foam rolling and stretching really happens when walking, sitting and raising my arms get a little tough.
Foam rollers are an effective method of reducing tension and increasing muscle length.
Some benefits of foam rolling are:
- Increases blood flow to your muscles.
- Helps to relieve muscle tension, especially after a hard workout.
- Decreases recovery time.
- Increases range of motion. The action of foam rolling can help to stretch out and lengthen your muscles.
- You can control how much pressure you apply to the area, which means you can focus on areas that are sore and need more work.
Foam roller = self massage
Foam rolling is one way to think of self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. In addition to a foam roller, you can use a lacrosse ball or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function.
I prefer using the roller but have used a lacrosse and golf ball. I think the balls hurt more, so it’s rare that I use them.
The type of roller you use is up to you. There are foam rollers that are smooth, which is what I started out with. And there are some with grooves and notches. I upgraded to the Trigger Point Therapy rollers more than a year ago. I have traveled with my small one because it fits into my carry on luggage.
Does it hurt? I would say the benefits of rolling muscles far outweigh the sense of agony I have while doing it. I mean, a massage is good and a little painful too. There are some muscles like my rear delts and parts of my legs that make me wince. I almost hyperventilate when work begins on my rear delts (shoulders) when I take a break from massages on a regular basis.
Do you use a foam roller or do you prefer a massage?