Foam Rolling has always been a subject that ends up with a lot of people debating about the beneficial properties in relation to muscular performance. However searching Google shows there are more and more studies being published around the factors that Foam Rolling can help increase range of motion, improve circulation and ultimately reduce injury risk.
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique used by athletes and physical therapists to aid in recovery of muscles that are prone to being overactive.
In a simple breakdown, Fascia is the connective tissue in our bodies that is present throughout the entire body. Think of this as a giant internal web like structure helping everything it attached to. This Fascia can become restricted due to overworking, any trauma and even inactivity. And this in turn will cause inflammation and this can even cause the Fascia to thicken which causes even more inflammation.
A SMR technique like Foam Rolling is great for relaxing tight muscles and its surroundings. This in turn increases our range of motion, makes our muscles more willing to stretch and thus reduces injury risks. As we are all taught from the very beginning if you don’t stretch properly it’s not a case of “you might” injure yourself it’s a case of “when you injure yourself”.
There are loads, and a mean loads of instructional videos out there on foam rolling (See below for a great basics video). I would recommend you foam roll your calves, the outside of your IT band, your piriformis, your adductors and your mid and upper back.
The video above covers a lot of the basics, although the video is aimed at runners the technique is the same regardless of your sport. The only part I differ on than the video is that when I find a tender spot foam rolling I generally hold the area for around 60 seconds instead of 20-30.
Generally it is considered best to foam roll pre-workout, however is you wish to do it post-workout as well then feel free. I do both myself as I also find foam rolling a great way to cool down.