Foam Rollers Are Like Water Bottles That Keep You Dry
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of foam rollers is water bottles. They are made out of a material called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). It’s a very strong plastic, but not as strong as steel or titanium. If you put one under your shoes, it will probably break them. It won’t cause any lasting damage, but it will certainly make your feet feel wet.
What do these things actually do?
Well, they’re designed to keep you dry so that you don’t get soggy from sweat. They have two main purposes:
To prevent moisture loss during exercise To reduce soreness after exercise.
You may be wondering what the difference between those two uses is. Well, there isn’t much of one. What they both accomplish is keeping you dry so that you don’t get soggy from perspiration. However, the reason why foam rollers are used in sports medicine is because they’re effective at preventing muscle soreness.
Muscle soreness refers to pain and inflammation caused by overuse or too many workouts. It’s called DOMS, which stands for delayed-onset muscle soreness. It is the kind of pain that is felt up to two days after an intense physical activity. The best way to prevent this from happening is by rolling it out with a foam roller (or PVC pipe). This eases soreness and helps when you want to exercise again because it will prevent DOMS from occurring.
Foam rollers are made of special material that is good at absorbing vibrations. This is great for releasing muscle tension. There are many kinds of foam rollers on the market, but the best one for you depends on your preferences. Some people like the feel of a hard roller, while others prefer a soft and mushy roller. If you like to go fast and firm with your massages, then you’ll like the hard rollers.
If you prefer to go slow and take your time, then you’ll like the soft rollers.
Before we move on, let’s get in some quick education on the possible benefits of foam rollers. They have four main purposes. We’ve already gone over two, but let’s go over the other two. First, they can help improve your flexibility by lengthening tight muscles. Second, they can be used for self-myofascial release (in other words, they help release muscle tension).
And now, you may be wondering about the downsides of foam rollers. The only real one is that they aren’t that great for weight loss because they can make you lazy. They can also cause your blood pressure to go up a bit, especially in people who haven’t been active in a while. And lastly, some people just don’t like using them simply because they’re pain averse.
So What Exactly Are the Foam Roller Benefits?
We’ve briefly covered what foam rollers can do for you, so let’s go over some of the specific benefits.
A foam roller is great for warming up and cooling down. If you’re doing strength training or other kinds of physical activity, it’s very important to warm up before you begin. It helps reduce your risk of pulling a muscle or causing other kinds of injury. The same thing can be said for cooling down. It helps restore flexibility in your muscles by increasing blood flow and relaxing your tired muscles.
Foam rolling is also good for increasing flexibility.
Did you know that it’s even proven to help increase hip flexibility by up to 44%?
That’s a pretty large number, and it just goes to show how effective they are. If you’re an athlete or a fitness buff, then foam rolling can be beneficial for you as it can improve your flexibility, which will allow you to move better.
The last benefit that we’ll go over today is that foam rollers can help relieve muscle pain. If your muscles feel tight or you have knots, then rolling them out can provide relief.
There are many other benefits, but let’s move on to the next section and talk about how you should use them.
How Should You Use a Foam Roller?
When it comes to using a foam roller, there are a lot of different things you can do. You can simply use it for stretching and releasing muscle tension. You can also use a foam roller in combination with other forms of exercise. Many sports players will use foam rollers prior to their events to help them relax their muscles and get them ready to perform at their peak levels.
The main thing to remember is that you should start with your least favorite and least painful areas first. For many people, this is their legs and then their upper back. From there, you can go to your arms, your chest, and finally your neck. If you do this, you’ll be able to give the most painful parts of your body some extra attention while also saving the less painful areas for last.
When using a foam roller, you should put as much weight on it as possible. Don’t be afraid to really sit into it and push hard. The idea is that the harder it is to roll out the muscle, the more benefit you’ll get out of it. That being said, don’t go too hard or else you risk injury. You should use a light to moderate pressure when using a foam roller.
Now, you may be wondering if there’s a certain way you should use the roller to get the best results. There are actually 3 different ways you can use it.
The first is called myofascial release. This involves lying on your muscle and then rolling over the top of it. You want to start at the bottom and slowly make your way up in a slow, steady motion.
Sources & references used in this article:
Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures by GEP Pearcey, DJ Bradbury-Squires… – Journal of athletic …, 2015 – meridian.allenpress.com
The effects of myofascial release with foam rolling on performance by KC Healey, DL Hatfield, P Blanpied… – … Journal of Strength & …, 2014 – journals.lww.com
Acute effects of anterior thigh foam rolling on hip angle, knee angle, and rectus femoris length in the modified Thomas test by AD Vigotsky, GJ Lehman, B Contreras, C Beardsley… – PeerJ, 2015 – peerj.com
Maximum Repetition Performance After Different Antagonist Foam Rolling Volumes In The Inter‐Set Rest Period by ER Monteiro, J Škarabot, AD Vigotsky… – … journal of sports …, 2017 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Acute effects of foam rolling on flexibility, isokinetic and isometric strength by Z Li – … Illinois University Carbondale, Master of Science in …, 2015 – core.ac.uk