A foam roller is a great way to achieve self myofascial release after a tough workout. If you work out regularly, foam rolling is a great way to relieve tight muscles faster and loosen trigger points or knots.
Another advantage of foam rolling is the large surface area of a foam roller, which makes it the perfect tool to work on large muscle groups like quadriceps, hamstrings, back, etc. However, we suggest that you avoid foam rolling smaller joints like knees, ankles or elbows. With these smaller joints, there is a risk of damage due to hyperextension. When dealing with joints like these, roll out the limb sections above and below the joint, but leave the joint untouched. Also, while foam rollers are a great treatment for tight muscles, avoid foam rolling if you have torn ligaments or muscles. Have these injuries treated by your doctor before commencing your foam rolling program.
Once you have found the right foam roller for you, it will help you align muscle tissue and break up the starts of adhesions or muscle strains. Another benefit will be lymphatic drainage. The right foam roller will help drain waste materials away from your tissues and decrease inflammation. The result will be quicker recovery and less time spent with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Soft Or Firm?
A foam roller can have a wide variety of surface types, ranging from soft to hard. So a question most people will have is what degree of firmness is right for them? If you are new to foam rolling, we suggest using a soft roller to start with. After a few weeks, of soft rolling, you can gradually switch over to a firmer roller, perhaps by doing 10 minutes on the soft roller and then 2-3 minutes on a hard one.
Alternatively, if you still find yourself with sore and tight muscles after your foam rolling session, you can take that as a sign that you’re ready to kick things up a notch and start spending some time with a firmer roller. Over time, you can gradually increase the proportion of time spent on the firm roller until you are using that one for your entire session.
Smooth Or Textured?
Foam rollers come in both smooth versions as well as those with more textured surfaces that address muscle knots and kinks. If you are just starting out on your foam rolling journey, you will want to start with a smoother roller. As your level of pain tolerance increases and you need a more intense experience, you can switch over to a roller with more ridges and grooves for more efficient myofascial release.
The next step up is to try a foam roller that is both firm and textured. This option will provide even more focused trigger point relief and stimulate your muscles at an even deeper level. You will benefit from optimal soft tissue flexibility and long lasting pain relief.