The foam roller is one of the most popular massage tools for at-home use. Athletes, in particular, use it to reduce muscle stress after exercise. It's a device that's utilized to aid muscle recovery. The principle of myofascial self-release is being used.
Myofascial release is a set of treatments that target the body's strong connective tissue and muscles to relieve tension, stress, and pain.
Pressure is delivered to certain muscle groups with the use of a special foam roller. All of this is accomplished with only one's body weight, making it a very easy and practical method.
Foam rollers are increasingly being seen in gyms, either before or after training, as part of a pre-workout routine or post workout cooldown.
Foam roller working principle
The foam roller works in a fairly straightforward way. It relaxes the muscle tissues and the framework that supports them by acting directly on the trigger sites or trigger points. Trigger points are nodules that grow in muscle fibers and range in size from 2 to 10 millimeters.
They can appear for a variety of reasons, but they are most commonly associated with injuries, high-intensity training, weight lifting, and stress. They can induce muscle soreness and stress in certain people.
The foam roller affects our autonomic nervous system in a variety of ways, including through various mechanoreceptors and sensory receptors like the Ruffini corpuscles, which are sensitive to deep tissue deformations. This has a variety of impacts, including those on arterial function caused by reduced sympathetic tone, which induces vasodilation, and the reduction of muscle tissue rigidity, which enhances hydration.
This indicates that the foam roller has an impact not only on the muscle we're massaging but also on the neurological system, resulting in adaptations that go beyond the mechanical effects of just resting on top of a foam roller.
Benefits of a foam roller
Increased joint range: Regarding the increase in the range of joint movement, an increase has been seen, but in no case is it something chronic or lasting. This increase is expected to be maintained for about 30 minutes. It is for this reason that the foam roller used before training is a very good option to reduce our muscle stiffness and increase our mobility before performing exercises that require it, such as squats, bench press, deadlift, or weightlifting movements.
Performance effects: As to whether it improves subsequent performance after applying it, at least it does not worsen it, but there is no consensus, so the application of the foam roller before training for these purposes must be done with the knowledge of the facts. Using it too long could cause changes in muscle activation patterns.
Recovery after exercise and soreness: One of the reasons why many people use the foam roller is that it accelerates muscle recovery and reduces soreness by acting on damaged tissues after training, increasing the flowing blood, clearing lactate, reducing the edema produced and oxygenating the area.
How to correctly use a foam roller
A foam roller can be used both before and after an exercise. You may use it if you're lifting weights at the gym or performing squats at home, and it doesn't have to be aerobic exercise.
The body weight is applied to the roller in this approach. You do this by putting yourself in various postures and rolling forward and backward to generate stress on the muscle knots. You must control the amount of force you use because too much can aggravate the discomfort.
Leaning your body or using your arms as support on the ground to support part of the load is one approach to adjusting the pressure. Begin with a small amount of weight and gradually increase as you gain confidence.
During the procedure, you must maintain proper cervical and lower back posture, since failing to do so can lead you to apply more tension and damage yourself. Although it may seem tough at first to take everything into account, becoming a foam roller expert will only take a few days.
Various exercises you can perform using the foam roller
Following are some activities you can perform with the foam roller.
Calves: Sit with your legs straight and the roller in front of you on the floor. Place it beneath one of your calves and bend your free leg's knee. Rest your hands on the floor, elevate your hips, and move forward and backward with your back straight.
IT Band: Lie down on your side and place the roller under your outer thigh. Bend your free leg over it and support the ground with it. For improved balance, use your elbow for support and bend your free hand forward. Cover the entire IT band with your motions.
Buttocks: Lie down on the roller and cross one leg to apply additional pressure to one buttock. With one hand, hold the crossed leg and use the freehand as ground support. Make actions that encompass the entire muscle's length.
Hamstrings: Lie down on the floor and roll your thighs with the foam roller. Stretch your legs in the air and support yourself with your outstretched hands. Make actions that extend from just beyond your knees to the buttocks' birth. Always remember to look ahead.
Abductors: Lie on your stomach on the floor with your elbows bent. Place the roller under your hamstrings with one leg extended to the side. Perform actions that cover this complete muscle group with your torso in the air.
Quadriceps: Lie on your stomach with your elbow on the floor to strengthen your quadriceps. Lift your free leg into the air with the roller beneath one of your quadriceps. Go up and down with your back straight, utilizing the movement of your arms to relieve tension in this area.