Once a technique only used by therapists and professional athletes, foam rolling is now a popular everyday practice for even the most casual gym-goer. Foam rolling — or self-myofascial release — is a method used to rid your muscles and connective tissues of adhesions (knots). The popularity of foam rolling as a way to release tension has grown significantly in recent years and has developed into a vital part of every runner's routine.
A few minutes on the foam roller can help increase your range of motion, flexibility and circulation as well as help reduce soreness and remove lactic acid post-workout. When all is said and done, working the foam roller into your routine will help improve your overall performance, aiding in both recovery and decreasing chance of injury.
How It Works
By applying pressure to certain points on your body such as your quads, calves or IT band, you're able to break up fascial adhesions (tension or knots) that cause improper alignment, altered movement patterns or decreased flexibility.
You can easily identify an adhesion because you'll feel pain when you apply pressure by rolling over it. When you find one of these knots, hold the foam roller and apply pressure for 30 seconds or more to help break up or relax the tight muscle.
Breaking down these adhesions helps increase and restore blood flow to your muscles, ultimately speeding up recovery. Furthermore, working out the knots will allow your muscles to relax and lengthen, allowing for increased flexibility.
Foam Rolling for Runners
Runners, you know how important stretching is, and you should also be using the foam roller as part of your warmup and cool-down routine, as well as on recovery days. Pre-run, it will increase blood flow to prepare you for your run as well as release any tightness in your muscles that could cause improper running form. Post-run, a good foam rolling session will flush out toxins and help with recovery.
Boost your performance with these four routines:
Place the roller under your right calf. You can rest your left foot on the floor or place it on top of your right leg to add more pressure. Slowly roll from your ankle to right below your knee stopping to hold at any tender spots. Hold where you feel tension for about 30 seconds before you move on.