Do You Foam Roll?
You should! although most people only consider doing so during rehab after an injury; but foam rolling is great for warming up before a run, or before getting started on your lifts. The motto goes “if it doesn’t hurt, you aren’t doing it right” and to be honest, that motto fits the bill quite well in my opinion. While rolling out the muscle in tender spots can be a tad bit uncomfortable at first, once the muscle has enough blood flow from the rolling technique and the knots are out – the end result will be worth the pain.
Foam rollers come in many different varieties, some are bigger — which are useful for bigger muscle groups and some are smaller for the hard to hit areas — and all of them work towards the same purpose but some work better than others due to their specific characteristics.
Before diving in head first, keep in mind that foam rolling does require technique, patience and consistency; as said before, it will hurt but it will work wonders for you as a result. I found on “Runners World” some examples of using a foam roller on certain muscle groups, it shows you a picture & describes in detail how to go about using it: Runners World Foam Roller Techniques this is important for those who haven’t yet used a foam roller and even for those athletes who don’t think they are getting the benefits from it and need to check to make sure they are using it correctly. Even as a personal trainer, I have to check myself when teaching my clients how to properly use a foam roller.
In the past I have had a client whom suffered from lower back pain, he was going to physical therapy 1-2 days a week and wasn’t happy with the results (he felt as if physical therapy was making the pain worse and not hitting the area that was needed). My solution was to have him continue physical therapy but to give foam rolling a chance during our sessions — we made it a constant before our workouts (he didn’t like it at first, because it was painful) but with time and patience and consistency, he was well on his way of feeling much better and being able to overcome obstacles he couldn’t before due to lower back pain. Eventually he quit his physical therapy (because he didn’t want to put money into something that he felt wasn’t doing the job) and with my suggestion of purchasing his own foam roller for when he was at home — the end result was he was feeling better, more confident with his workouts, little to no pain and saving money. Now, this might not be a solution that works for every client and/or patient, but it does happen to be an option that can and should be used if possible in hopes it helps and if not rid of the pain, subside it.
Foam rolling is not the end all, I do believe physical therapy is necessary for rehabilitation for injured persons, and can be very beneficial for most individuals who stick with the plan and continue to follow their routine at home – however, some people are more or less stubborn or refuse to pay the cost of going to physical therapy, and I find that if the injury permits it, foam rolling should be an option (check with your physician or physical therapist) and again you don’t have to be injured in order to gain something from it, use it before workouts to release tightness and rid of knots, and to warm up those muscles.
How many of you have used a foam roller? Were you happy with the results , why or why not.