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How to Use a Foam Roller

Foam rollers have become increasingly popular in recent years and are now a common tool to help athletes and gym fanatics release pressure from their muscles following a workout. Exercising can really take it out of us, and especially from our muscles as they can suffer micro-tears if your workout is intense. Therefore, it is important that we have the time and the tools on hand to help our body repair and recuperate as soon as possible. This is where the foam roller comes in. 

Here we have put together all the information you need on what a foam roller is, what the benefits are, as well as a how-to guide to help you use it in the correct way. So do not worry if you are a newbie when it comes to muscle recovery, as by using our guide and learning how to use a foam roller correctly, you can revolutionise your recovery routine and ensure you get the best results! 

What is a foam roller? 

Foam rolling is a technique of self-myofascial release and can be used as part of your post-workout recovery process to help relieve muscle tightness and reduce inflammation. It was previously a method only used by professional trainers and athletes but is now largely practiced for people at various levels of fitness as a way to prepare for and cool down from exercise. 

A foam roller is lightweight and usually tube shaped and is used as a form of self-massage that can be completed easily from the comfort of your own home. Muscle recovery equipment providers, Pulseroll, have taken foam rollers to the next level in recent years and have made them available with performance enhancing technology to help you target muscles by using sharp pulsing vibrations to help ease soreness and prevent future injuries. 

What are the benefits? 

One of the main reasons why athletes and fitness fanatics use a foam roller is because of how considerably it can benefit muscles and joint pain. Exercise really takes it out of our bodies and foam rollers have been scientifically proven to reduce the inflammation that can occur during onset of DOMS. It also benefits our muscles as it increases blood flow and the elasticity of our joints and muscle tissue. This can then have a direct effect on your overall well-being, flexibility, mobility, and makes fat underneath the skin appear smoother- who doesn’t want that?! 

Ultimately, foam rolling can be a very calming and relaxing activity, which is essential for both your physical and mental health after a heavy workout. Using a foam roller is the perfect opportunity to relax and roll your worries away. 

While there are a wide range of benefits that you can experience from using a foam roller as part of your recovery process, the benefits differ between individuals. You should take external factors into consideration such as workout intensity, how accustomed your body is to exercise, and how regularly you use it. If your foam rolling usage is intermittent then you will not experience maximum benefits. 

Warming up

We recommend that you use your foam roller before you start your workout as it is an effective way to get your blood flowing and prepare your body to exercise. Not taking the time to relieve muscle tightness pre-workout may hinder your session and even cause you to have an injury. 

One of the best things about using a foam roller is that you can use It on any particular section or muscle of your body where you feel it is needed. For example, you can use a foam roller to get your calves ready to take the added pressure that they experience during a session. You should start off by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Then place the foam roller underneath your left calf. You can keep your right foot rested on the floor or if you are ready for a challenge place it across your left foot to add extra pressure. Then by placing your arms out behind you, lift your hips up and roll the foam roller from your ankle to just below your knee. Continue to roll up and down on your left calf and then repeat on your right. 

You can then go on to target other muscles that you will use a lot during your workout. 

Cool down

You use your foam roller in a similar way for your cool down as your warmup, but simply change the areas that you are targeting to ensure that those muscles which have been worked hardest receive the recovery benefits. Your hamstrings tend to get a lot of use during a workout so this would be a good area of tissue that would benefit from post workout foam rolling. 

To do this, you should be on the floor again with your legs extended in front and place the foam roller under your thighs. Then using your hands to hold your body up, you can lift your hips and roll the foam roller from your knees up to your glutes. If you want to take it to the next level, then roll one leg at a time with one leg crossed over the other. Again, you should do one leg and then repeat with the other. 

Things to keep in mind 

It is important that you consider carefully what muscles need to be targeted by the foam roller, and to do this think about which areas of your body aches most post-workout. However, we recommend that you don’t go too fast with your foam roller while you are getting used to using it, and instead taking it slow and steady is a much more effective and precise way to massage your muscles. 

Remember that you should only foam roll each muscle once a day as this is enough to feel the benefits, and you shouldn’t foam roll to the point that your muscles start to hurt or you are in pain as this could leave you with bruising. 

By brushing up on your knowledge of foam rolling and learning how to use a foam roller effectively to boost your recovery, you can transform how you recover from a workout and help your body recover faster and boost your overall performance abilities.