When we think of foam rolling, we picture sweaty guys in a locker room, winding down after a hard practice. In fact, foam rollers can do a world of good even for those of us who aren’t elite athletes. Here’s the deal:
It’s like a massage. Self-myofascial release, a fancy way of saying self-massage, is used to release tension and tightness in muscles after they’ve been overworked. Foam rolling helps break up adhesions and scar tissue with the application of continuous pressure. By being tenderized, muscles regain elasticity and become less sore.
Anyone can do it. Whether you're recovering from a particularly rough boot camp class or you're just a victim of sitting at a computer all day, foam rolling can be beneficial. Foam rolling helps you relax by activating the receptors that connect your muscle fibers to your tendons. This leads to better blood circulation, which hastens recovery and boosts performance.
There’s a right way to roll. It’s important to go as slowly as possible, making sure that each part of the muscle gets equal pressure. Spend about 20 seconds on each part of the body, then move on and repeat the cycle. See specific foam-rolling exercises here.