Self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage that helps to to release muscle tightness or trigger points and using a foam roller is one of the best ways to do this. It’ll make all the difference when it comes to reducing that soreness that you get after an intense workout – be that from a game of squash, a session in the gym or an aerobics session in the group fitness studio.
Why do I need to use a foam roller?
Just stretching alone is not always enough to release muscles tightness. Imagine a bungee cord with a knot tied into it and then envision stretching the cord. This creates tension, stretching the unknotted portion of the muscle and the attachment points. The knot, however, has remained unaltered.
Using a foam roller can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal to any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning, as if nothing was ever wrong in the first place.
Here are the 10 best reasons for using a foam roller
- Much reduced pain after exercise
- Improved blood circulation
- Release muscle tightness
- Improves athletic performance
- Breaks down knots in muscles
- Helps to prevent injury
- Improves balance
- Maximised effectiveness of stretching
- Alleviates delayed onset muscle soreness
- Enhances delivery of nutrients to tissues, thus aiding recovery
To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen.
If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area. The goal is to restore healthy muscles – it is not a pain tolerance test.
For more information on how to use a foam roller, watch our instructional video below: