The Importance of Foam Rolling

Have you ever felt so sore that it seemed like every muscle in your body is riddled with knots? Knots can be a nuisance, for sure, but are especially annoying when they’re causing you pain. Often, the first move people make when they realize they need to get “rid” of their muscle knots is to head off to see a massage therapist. But what if there was another way that was nearly as effective and ten times more convenient and affordable? Enter Foam Rolling.

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Self-myofascial release (SMR), also referred to as foam rolling, is a great at-home way to work out the knots in your body without the aid of another person. Foam rollers, lacrosse balls and a host of other SMR equipment is engineered specifically to target those areas filled with knots and break down the myofascial tissue they’re composed of. As a result, knots lessen in size and can even dissipate entirely, if worked long enough and correctly.

Why foam rolling?

Overtraining and inadequate rest are some of the factors that lead to the formation of myofascial tissue, aka knots. Left untreated or not taken care of, these knots can limit ranges of motion and flexibility, reduce blood flow and even lead to injury. It’s recommended to perform SMR at least once and up to two times a day. With foam rolling, the idea is to roll out the various parts of the body until “trigger point” is located. At which time the position should be held for thirty to forty-five seconds. A trigger point is easily identified, as you will experience lots of pain when you locate one. Breathing throughout the “hold” is important, as it will help prevent your body from becoming too tense.

Rest and stretching have long been important parts of any well-rounded fitness program. SMR is no exception. Foam rollers are very affordable, can be taken nearly anywhere (even when traveling), and are relatively self-explanatory. Learning the art of SMR is not only doable for even the average Joe, but it’s a favor you can do for your body for working so hard in the gym.