After a workout at the gym, you don’t have to suffer from sore muscles or run to a massage thereapist. You can use foam roller stretches for muscle pain and when done correctly, get effective pain relief. The foam roller looks a bit like a pool noodle, but there are some big differences. It’s harder than a pool noodle for one and is thicker than one too. The length of these rollers varies with some as long as almost a yard, while others may only be a four inches long.
The foam roller works like a massage.
Instead of the fingers, fists and elbows of the massage thereapist providing relief, the foam roller does it. It eliminates adhesions in the connective tissue and muscles that can lead to weakness and ultimately pain from injury because it isn’t contracting in a uniform manner. The roller provides a massaging style pressure that also increases blood flow to improve recovery, mobility and performance. Frankly, when done correctly, it feels wonderful on aching muscles.
Knowing the right way to use the foam roller is important.
Some people try to give the area of pain a direct workout with the foam roller. Instead, they should be working the area by the sore spot, not directly on the sore area to prevent further damage. Roller over IT bands don’t stop the inflammation that causes the pain either, but may increase it. Going to fast is another problem that reduces the benefit. A slower massage gives the brain time to tell the muscle to relax.
Some muscle groups benefit greatly from the use of foam rollers.
The calves and hamstrings are two locations that can benefit from proper use of a foam roller. It also can help the sore muscles at the front of the legs. When working the back, you really need the help of a qualified instructor to insure you don’t do further damage or cause all the muscles in the back to seize. Many people find these rollers are particularly good after working the glutes hard. In fact, with proper training, almost all areas of the body can be helped with a foam roller.
– Watch your posture when using a foam roller to insure you aren’t doing further damage. Form counts in this case.
– Don’t spend too much time on knots. Twenty to thirty seconds is enough to focus on one area. After that, you’ll be irritating it.
– Foam roller stretches are a good addition to any workout program for a cool down.
– One advantage of the foam roller is that when used properly, it can be used anywhere and at any time. It’s the perfect way to soothe sore muscles in the comfort of your own home.