The Importance Of Adding Foam Rollers To Your Workout

Whether you are planning on owning a gym,  looking for a membership, or workout at home, Do not miss adding these most important pieces of equipment like a massage roller,  foam roller, and stick roller.

Often these pieces of equipment are stuck in the corner of your gym or living room and rarely used. However putting a foam roller, stick roller, or massage balls to use either before or after your workout will have you seeing benefits in your flexibility, mobility, athletic performance, and recovery.

So what’s with the rolling craze?

As a self-implemented therapy technique, rolling can last anywhere between a couple of minutes to target a specific area to a longer full-body session. The basic explanation for foam or stick rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, breaking up scar tissue, releasing muscle, and fascial tightness.

Fascia is three different layers of connective tissue that perform a variety of functions associated with providing support and protection of the muscles in your body, as well as assist tendons and bones to help with daily movement. Occasionally the fascia can create knots within itself, causing pain, soreness, and tightness.

By applying pressure and shifting the fascia around, the muscles will relax and become more flexible. As you increase the blood flow and oxygen to the tissue it will assist in alleviating pain and muscle soreness.

In some way, shape, or form, our daily activities cause our body to tighten our muscles as we go through a gauntlet of movement patterns, potentially poor posture, nutrition, dehydration, lack of sleep, and various stress levels.

While constant visits to a licensed massage and chiropractor would be ideal, such is not always a reality and some self-healing is the next best option. By using your body weight to apply varying degrees of pressure, use the foam roller or rolling stick. Slowly run it down your calves, hamstrings, quads, IT bands, gluteus, and back.

Roll The Entire Length of The Muscle

Make sure you roll the entire length of the muscle and then you can shorten the length of the rollover any tender. As with a static stretch, target each area for 20-30 seconds for optimal results while making sure to breathe deeply to relax your body as much as possible.

When working out specific areas or “trigger points”, use a massage ball. You can use racquetball, or lacrosse ball to get into the smaller muscles. Massage balls are also great to give attention to your feet.  A feet area that we often forget to spend time on. But yet we constantly abuse them in our daily activities.

If the area that you are working on is too painful or tight to work out directly. Shift your focus to the surrounding area and gradually loosen the entire muscle group. Rollers also serve multiple purposes throughout your workout.

It can be placed under your feet or hands during planks or push-ups to add instability and/or elevation. They can also be used during yoga to help with balance and range of motion. Rollers are also a great tool to help deepen the stretch in certain areas.  Rollers deepen your legs, hip flexors, and arms.

Foam Roller, Stick Roller, or Massage Ball

Whether you choose to use a foam roller, stick roller, or massage ball. There are numerous types of each on the market. Figuring out which is the right one for you is important. A simple rule of thumb is the harder the foam roller, the more intense the massage.  You will also find a variety of lengths, diameters, textures, and shape with each providing benefits.

As for stick rollers, they also come in a variety of sizes, which makes them easier to use. You can choose between the standard roller which often has smooth roller spindles and a spiked version that while not as gentle as other options, does provide a deep tissue massage. When it comes to massage balls, a common size is similar to a tennis ball or lacrosse ball.

Unlike foam rollers and stick rollers, having a smooth ball is more beneficial than one with spikes or nubs. However, as with the rollers, the hardness of the ball will determine how intense the message is. As with any exercise program, it is important to take care of your body pre and post-workout.

Setting aside 10-15 minutes each day and focusing either on an entire body roll or specific areas will not only benefit you athletically and with your workout goals, but just as importantly, with your daily routine.

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