Foam Rolling -- Experience the benefits of self-massage.
Posted May 08 2012 12:12pm
In 2005, Gabrielle Reece interviewed Oakland Athletics pitcher Barry Zito on Fit TV's Insider Training. They showed Barry Zito using a foam roller for recovery and I wanted to give it a try, so I asked my family for a foam roller for Christmas. I was hooked immediately and I used that first foam roller until it was crushed into the shape of a V. I upgraded to a firmer foam roller from Perform Better. Well, not exactly just one, I have one next to my bed, one in the living room, one in the family room, one in my car, one under my desk at the office, and a smaller packable version for travel.
I stocked our exercise room with foam rollers and I have encouraged our instructors to incorporate them in our classes so people know how to use them. In 2010, we held a myofascial release clinic to introduce more staff to foam rolling and other self-massage techniques. It was well attended and well received. I've been meaning to write this post ever since. Matt Hirn, one of the trainers we were working with at the time, even helped me create this little instructional video.
You can achieve results that are pretty similar to working with a massage therapist for a $20 investment in a foam roller. The benefits of foam rolling include:
Release tight muscles.
Relieve pain associated with working at a computer for long stretches of time.
Improve circulation which aids in muscle performance and recovery.
Improve the range of motion in your spine.
Reduce the appearance of cellulite. (This last point is somewhat debatable, but it can't hurt to try.)
Some people find foam rolling a little painful initially, but you can easily control the amount of pressure you use. I'd put it in a "hurts so good" category. You use your body weight to roll specific muscles to mimic a deep, gliding massage and pause on any trigger points until they release. Matt will introduce you to a few things you can try to get started, but you can get at most major muscles if you contort yourself into the right position.
There is a lot of additional information available online. I like these two posts: