Foam Rolling 101 | Dr. Adrienne Russell
If you’ve seen a cylindrical-shaped tube lying around in your gym and you’ve never known what it’s used for, I’m here to tell you why and how to use it!
This simple tool is used to release myofascial tension and has several benefits!
But first, what is myofascial tension?
The term myo meaning muscle and fascia is a sheet of tissue that surrounds your muscles (hence, myo-fascia). When areas of our body get overworked, your range of motion is limited. Overuse, repetitive motion, and weak body mechanics and prevent our bodies from moving freely.
The foam roller works like a massage by finding a trigger point or “tight” spot and releases those areas. The tube shape allows a smooth, easy glide over your muscles. You can use it as a pre or post-workout recovery or even when you first wake up in the morning! Other benefits include: increase flexibility, prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, and increase blood flow.
So how do you use a foam roller? Just like any other exercise, it is a technique you ease into. Problem areas you want to focus on are: low back, between shoulder blades, and legs. Those are typically tighter areas of the body and bigger muscle groups.
Low back: Start off by propping the foam roller horizontal behind your lower back. You will use your body weight to lie over the roller, knees bent, and glide back and forth. If it is difficult or painful, you can lighten the amount of body weight by bending your knees more and your hands to support yourself. You want to roll at a steady, slow pace and focus on areas for about 10-30 seconds.
Between shoulder blades: The foam roller will remain behind your back but will move to your mid-back. Knees will stay bent. Arms will come either across your chest or bring your hands behind your bed (like a sit-up position). This will allow the foam roller to contact those tighter areas easier. Again, you will glide up in down for about 10-30 seconds.
Legs: The foam roller will now be placed under one of your legs. Keep the focused leg straight and allow your hands and arms to support yourself. You can bend the unused leg as support or cross it over. The areas you want to focus on are the calf and hamstrings. Again, you can fluctuate the amount of body weight and tension you place on these areas. 10-30 seconds in a controlled up and down movement.
Foam rolling is an excellent tool to use as a warm-up, cool down, or if your job requires a lot of sitting or standing. If you are concerned about whether foam rolling is right for you, ask your doctor or trainer if it is recommended.
Do you want to get a hands-on, in-person tutorial on how to do this and live near Jacksonville Florida? Join us for one of our foam rolling classes coming up! Here is the link to check out the dates and to sign up to join us!