What is Foam Rolling and How is it Helpful to Your Body?

foam rolling

Foam rolling is something that until fairly recently I have never heard of. I’ve been working out regularly the past few months, and my trainer kept talking about foam rolling and how it was amazing to aid workout recovery, and how she just loves foam rolling. When I first heard the term, I was like what in the actual heck is she talking about? I could only picture in my mind a paint roller, yes, how silly of me. Why would I run a paint roller across my body?!

Foam rollers were invented in 1987 by a physical therapist named Sean Gallagher. They were invented as a self-massage tool and quickly became popular in dance communities and more therapists began using them for muscle strengthening and for balance. Nowadays, foam rollers are used in gyms all over for weight lifters, runners, etcetera.

I am not a doctor or anything of the sort, however, I  have researched and experienced foam rolling myself.

 

What is Foam Rolling?

Alas, I started deep into research to find out what this foam rolling thing is all about. It turns out that it’s quite popular. Foam rolling is exactly as it sounds, the rolling of foam underneath certain parts of your body to massage and work out any tension. I don’t know about you, but when I think of foam, I think of soft.

On the contrary, a foam roller is actually sturdier and comes in a variety of density from softer to very firm, and in between of course. There are also smooth and textured varieties, as well as several size options.  Foam rolling is a great way to warm up and recover from workouts and it makes you more flexible as well.

So with this small tool, you can relieve stress and muscle tension, all while giving yourself a massage. Sounds pretty amazing to me.

If you have been suffering from muscle aches and tension, a foam roller may be a good choice to add to your wellness routine.

 

Best Foam Rollers

It’s usually recommended for beginners to start with a smooth, softer density roller. I jumped the gun and went for a medium-density, textured roller. Word of warning, you may develop bruising if you’re new to rolling and don’t do it properly. I’ve done a lot of research, and here are some of the best foam rollers out there.

 

TriggerPoint Grid

This is a standard density textured roller that comes in pink, black, and orange. It is 26″ long and comes with a free instructional online library and a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

 

321 Strong Roller

I purchased this foam roller and so far so good. It feels like an amazing deep tissue massage and it comes in a variety of colors and prints. This foam roller is 12″ and also comes with an instructional ebook and a pamphlet showing and explaining the popular rolling techniques.

OPTP Pro Roller

36″ long, softer roller that gently relieves tight areas. This is a good roller for beginners as it’s soft and not textured.

 

Amazon Basics Roller

This is a great budget or starter roller. Available in different lengths and sizes, all at an affordable price. This would be a great way to try out foam rolling and see how you like it without investing too much money right off the bat.

How to Use a Foam Roller

So you did it, you bought your own roller, and are ready to start rolling away. Now what?! Many rollers come with their own manuals, instructional videos, and ebooks. If you want to learn even more about foam rolling techniques, here is a great video to watch.

Using a foam roller is pretty straightforward, however, you do want to make sure that you know what you’re doing so that you don’t end up hurting yourself more than helping yourself. It’s normal to feel a bit sore after rolling, some people even bruise slightly, however, it shouldn’t be intense or sharp pains, just slight soreness. You can foam roll several parts of your body, including the upper back, thighs, calves, and arms.

You can use your foam roller daily before and after workouts. It’s recommended to roll each area of the body around 30-45 seconds. Doing too much at once could increase your body soreness.

 

Benefits of Foam Rolling

 

  • Relief from muscle soreness and tightness– Get instant relief from sore and tight muscles.

 

  • Increase joint range of motion– When you use the foam roller, you are stretching out your joints and increasing your range of motion.

 

  • Reduce pain– Certain areas of your body that are in pain will benefit from rolling. The foam roller will help to dissipate the pain. This could be everyday back pain, it doesn’t have to just be workout-related.

 

  • Improve muscle performance– Rolling can help muscles recover more quickly and it can help to prevent muscle aches and pains from developing in the future.

 

  • Stress relief– Roll away your stress- literally! Foam rolling releases tension and knots, thus making you feel less stressed and uptight.

 

  • Massage at home– Having a daily massage at home will save you so much time and money. And once you get used to it, it feels great!

 

There are even more ways to benefit from foam rolling and to get the best use from it. Always stretch before and after rolling and workouts. Warming up and cooling down after your workout will also aid in muscle recovery. And an Epsom salt bath afterward will work wonders. I love my Epsom baths!

Now that you know all about foam rolling, will you be joining in on the rolling trend? Comment below if you already roll or if you’re planning to start foam rolling.

 

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