Foam rollers have become a popular and effective tool for both pre-workout warmups and post-exercise recovery sessions. Common results of using a foam roller include pain relief and reduced risk of injury. These results can occur through the release of tension and knots as foam rolling applies firm pressure to muscles, helping them improve overall function. Here, Larry Greenfield, a New York-based fitness trainer, discusses six reasons using a foam roller is a great idea.
1. Reduced Soreness
Using a foam roller after your workout is complete can help reduce overall soreness. Foam rolling helps initiate the recovery process for your muscles. After a workout, inflammation naturally occurs as part of repairing impacted tissues. If muscles aren’t activated or moved properly during a recovery session, it can lead to the development of new knots or adhesions. Using a foam roller at the end of a workout can help prevent the buildup of new collagen and keep you from becoming too sore for your next activity.
2. Reduced Risk of Adhesions
Through the use of a foam roller, you can help reduce the risk of developing adhesions. Adhesion occurs when collagen is bound between layers of muscle. Most often this occurs if a muscle is overused in the same movements or if a muscle is stuck in the same position during inactivity. Collagen can develop between the layers of muscle, which results in knots or adhesions. By using a foam roller on a regular basis, the pressure of the roller can help prevent the buildup of collagen.
3. Reduction in Muscle Tightness
Foam rollers help provide what is called a “myofascial release”, which is the act of reducing muscle tension and tightness. When muscles are stuck in a tightened position, you may suffer a reduction in the range of motion. By using a foam roller to help aid in this release, you can help increase the overall range of motion for your muscles and joints. By relieving muscle tightness and increasing range of motion, this helps improve movement performance.
4. Restoration of Correct Length-Tension in Muscles
Often during workouts, you are using multiple muscles working together to achieve a specific result. If one muscle out of a group becomes tight, that may result in an imbalance that causes other muscles to work harder or produce a suboptimal result. The tightness of one muscle can cause surrounding muscles to lengthen to make up for the deficiency. By using a foam roller before a workout, you can help restore the balance needed for the proper length of each muscle. This will help ensure each muscle is being activated properly.
5. Increased Blood Flow
The pressure from using a foam roller before a workout can help increase blood flow to the desired muscles and tissues. The foam roller can elevate heat in the tissues worked and reduced tightness for an optimized workout. It is especially important to only use a foam roller for brief periods before a workout, to ensure muscles aren’t desensitized and able to still contract properly in exercise.
6. Feelings of Relaxation
When using a foam roller during a post-workout cooldown session, the release of tension in the muscles can help induce a feeling of relaxation. Using the foam roller on a specific area of tension for 90 seconds can help those muscles relax. Relaxation is a great psychological benefit of using a foam roller.
About Larry Greenfield
Larry Greenfield is a certified fitness coach from New York, who specializes in helping men and women over 40 get into the best shape of their life. Through years of experience, he’s discovered that personalizing his approach to fit each client’s needs and aiming for long-term results is the best path to improve his clients’ lifestyle. When he is not working, Larry enjoys fitness, art, traveling, and outdoor activities with his family.