Foam Rolling – as the name says, it is a “Self-Myofascial Releasing”(SMR) technique. A simple process of rolling the foam roller under the desired muscle of which you want to release the tightness.
Foam rolling applies pressure on the tissues of the desired muscles, stretches the skin, and breaks the muscle-barrier knots & trigger points. These knots are one of the causes of muscle tightness, soreness, and spasms. So foam-rolling can be done on your own which would release this tension of your muscles without causing you pain. Rather it’s a comforting feel to your CNS giving you a “sense of relaxation and pleasure”.
Let’s check the benefits of foam rolling and how it can benefit you to improve your performance at the gym and speed up your recovery.
1) Foam Rolling Before Workouts Can Improve Performance
When muscles are tight they cannot contract or perform efficiently as they are too short or stiff. They always perform better when they are longer. Muscle tightness can restrict flexibility, mobility, range of motion, and blood flow.
In studies, a major effect of FR before the workout/activity was seen in flexibility.
Foam rolling can be your great warm-up tool which can be used along with your warm-up exercises before starting your workouts.
Some foam-rolling before starting your workouts would help in increasing the blood flow and mobility. Better mobility and flexibility would help you with muscle contractions to perform better while preventing the tearing of muscles.
You would be able to lift more at the gym and with a better range of motion.
2) Foam Rolling Before Workouts Can Give You Better PUMPS!
Yes, you heard that right. Foam rolling increases the blood flow to the muscles and decreases the lactic acid built-up. Increased blood flow would help you to get BETTER PUMPS and vascularity at the gym!
3) Foam Rolling Can Decrease the Risk of Injury During Exercise
The stiffer the muscles, the higher the chances of it getting injured. Restricted mobility and range of motion increase the chance of injuries.
Foam rolling before workouts make sure that it takes care of the muscle tightness and minimises the chances of muscle pulls, spasms, and injuries. This helps remove any joint or muscle stiffness that might have been preventing you from performing certain exercises properly.
When you have increased flexibility and a wider range of motion, you are less likely to get injured when performing certain exercises.
4) Foam Rolling Will Speed Up Your Post-Workout Recovery*
After a workout, there is a built-up of lactic acid in the muscles and it’s important to remove it as early as possible. Foam rolling along with post-workout stretching would help you to get rid of that and also help you with muscle stiffness and pain which occurs after a workout. It’ll also reduce the inflammation and soreness the next day.
Viola, better recovery.
Better Recovery = Better Results. The sooner you recover from your previous workout, the better you would be performing the current or the next day.
Try foam rolling before doing your post-workout stretching, you would thank me. Provided that you’re foam rolling it correctly and not applying too much pressure till the point it hurts. The idea is to break the knots and make you feel relaxed and not hurtful.
Bonus Tips: 1) Make sure your diet has adequate protein which is very crucial for recovery.
2) If you have a desk job and you sit most of the day, FOAM rolling your back can be extremely relaxing for you. This would help with back pain and stiffness.
3) A tennis ball can also be used to roll over certain areas;)
My Personal Experience with FR
For me personally, It helps me after intense back or shoulder workouts. Works like a blessing for me, especially after heavy deadlifts and with my upper back tightness.
It also helps in easing my posture and neck stiffness as I’ve cervical pain issues. I use it to break the pain-triggering knots of the whole back, and it definitely relieves me and gives me a sense of relaxation.
Foam roller surely works pre or post workout in getting rid of the lactic acid built-up, reducing muscle tightness, easing the muscles, preventing injuries, increasing the blood flow, increasing mobility and range of motion, and improving posture.
In short, foam rolling would help you to increase performance and speed up your post-workout recovery.
It is definitely not a waste of time as many think, but it shouldn’t be considered as the only gold standard
for the recovery.
It would be best to pair up foam rolling along with your warm up exercises and post workout stretching.
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