What is foam rolling? It's a form of self-massage that gets rid of adhesions in your muscles and tissue. If not dealt with, these adhesions can lead to pain and injury.
But getting the best results from your foam roller means using it correctly. Here are some do's and don'ts that will help you maximize your foam rolling sessions.
Roll indirectly on an area where you feel pain
If there's a spot on your body that's particularly sensitive, work around it without applying direct pressure. Work on smaller, more localized regions before moving on to larger, sweeping movements.
One mistake many first-time users make is rolling too quickly. While it may feel great, you're not actually eliminating any adhesions. Going slowly allows the superficial muscles and layers to adapt to the compression. Use short, slow rolls over and around tender spots.
Don't spend too much time on your knots
Be careful of spending too much time working on the same area. Users who do so often apply all of their body weight onto the roller, which can put sustained pressure on one body part and damage tissue (or hit a nerve). Experts recommend spending no more than 20 seconds on each sore spot. You can also work on managing how much body weight you apply.
Don't use a foam roller on your lower back
Many users love applying a foam roller to their lower back. The problem is, your spinal muscles will contract and protect the spine, which provides no therapeutic effect. Instead, use the foam roller on your upper back to protect your spine.
Roll to the "trigger point"
The trigger point is more commonly known as a "muscle knot," but the idea is the same. Roll until you feel your trigger point and then stop and rest on the roller for about 20 seconds. Focus on relaxing the muscle.
Choose the right foam roller
With so many foam rollers on the market, it can be a challenge to find the one that's best for you. Here are some of today's hottest sellers:
- The Original Muscle Mauler
- LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller
- TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
- TP Therapy Grid Foam Roller
- Fit Spirit Textured Massage Foam Roller