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 my favorite foam roller to help me recover faster.
This week the work it’s been about my lower body. The focus is on foam rolling 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.
Foam rolling and stretching daily increases when walking, sitting and raising my arms get a little tough.
Foam rollers are an effective method of reducing tension and increasing muscle length.
- 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, massage 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?