Foam rolling has rescued my bank account from the cost of endless sports massages and hot stone massages, and not forgetting the good old traditional swedish of course. But all joking aside, if you suffer from muscle tightness or soreness then self massaging with a foam roller or “self-mayofascial release” as its known in sports science circles might be for you.
The pressure the foam roller creates stimulates blood flow to the relevant muscle, easing any tightness. And as the blood supply is full of the oxygen and nutrients that our muscles need, this also promotes muscle recovery and repair. To foam roll effectively, identify the muscle you want to target, position the foam roller under your body and then use your own bodyweight to apply moderate pressure to the specific muscle, rolling the roller underneath you.
Roll slowly, around one inch per second. If you hit a particularly tender spot, pause and try to relax over it and after 5-30 seconds the pain should ease. Pain is unavoidable whilst foam rolling, however the pain should only be uncomfortable and not unbearable. If it’s the latter then you might need to seek professional help.
That slightly awkward phrase “pleasurable pain” springs to mind. It is not a pain threshold exercise but rather the aim is to restore healthy muscles. Avoid rolling over a joint or bone and also exercise caution with your lower back and neck – you are best consulting a physiotherapist for advice over these sensitive areas.