Self-Myofascial Release with Foam Rollers

Sarah Vance Foam RollingI never thought that purchasing a large piece of foam and rolling around on it would be so beneficial to my training and recovery. I am sure that sounds odd, but myofasical release, more commonly known as foam rolling, is an excellent way to assist with recovery and aid in injury prevention.

Before getting into what foam rolling is, it is important to have an idea of what myofascial release means. The body is made of connective tissue around muscles and bones. Part of the connective tissue is fascia. The fascia can become irritated or ‘knotted up’ due to various agitating stimuli, however for relevance sake, we will stick with training.  Myofascial release is specifically about the muscles that the fascia are involved with, and how to relax and smooth out those knotted up areas.

Foam rolling has similar benefits to those of a deep tissue massage in terms of what it provides your muscles and body.  As mentioned, it helps release knots as well as improving range of motion, decreasing muscle stiffness and soreness, and helps keep a well-balanced and functional musculature. Foam rolling is cheaper than a deep tissue massage, and you can do it on a more regular basis in the comfort of your own home.  It works by placing sustained pressure on a trigger point using your bodyweight and the piece of foam. This then sends a signal to the brain to start releasing knots and muscle tension.

Foam rolling assists with safe training when used prior to working out. Doing it during a warm up session with the particular muscle group will increase blood flow to that area and will decrease the density of the muscle.  It is also beneficial with cool down to aid in recovery and should be followed up with stretching.  It is recommended to foam roll at least once a day for about 15 min total, however it is based on the individual as to how frequent and how long they wish to do it.

You will need a piece of cylindrical foam, which can be purchased on Amazon.com or any sporting goods store. There are some made that are softer and some that are a harder which you should move to once your body gets used to the softer version. You can also use lacrosse balls for really deep knots or hard to reach spots. I prefer to use lacrosse ball on my traps and piriformis. You start by rolling slowly down the length of the muscle while putting your bodyweight on the foam and once you find a sensitive spot you stop and stay there for about 30-45 seconds.

It should be noted that foam rolling can be uncomfortable at times, similar to a deep stretch.  You can foam roll just about any muscle. However, try to avoid the spine directly. A good sequence to do is roll the glutes, then hamstrings, then calves, then move on to the quads. Pay attention and be sure to change the position of rolling rather than staying in one area. From there you can move onto your upper back and lats. This should be around 15 minutes total, or maybe more if you need to spend time on a sensitive spot. After foam rolling, be sure to stretch each body part.

 

Sarah Vance Bikini Champion & Fitness ModelSARAH VANCE, RN
Sarah was raised in a household that was focused on clean eating by health conscious, bodybuilder parents. Today, she is a Registered Nurse in a hectic ICU that is responsible for caring for patients, many of whom have not made the best lifestyle and diet choices over the years.   Sarah decided it was time to take control of her body and achieve her own health pinnacle by setting her mind and putting 110% effort toward her goals.  That ‘no excuses’ attitude has earned her the title Bikini Champion and Fitness Model.  We love Sarah’s humble but positive attitude, her enthusiasm and lovably goofy nature. She proves that if you want it bad enough, you will make it happen!

 

 

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