Another use for your Foam Roller!

by dr.g

Most people use Foam Rollers to work out tight spots in their muscles.

While this is a very practical use for the foam roller it is often difficult because these spots are often very painful. In order to release the tension on this part of the muscle you have to roll very slowly and even hold your position on the tight muscle. An example of how this is done properly can be found here.

Giant Blue Foam Roll

Image by maile&justin via Flickr

Most people do not realize that the foam roller can also be a very effective warm up tool if used properly. Just like when trying to work out a sore muscle you have to roll over the involved muscle. However, this is where the techniques begin to differ. To warm up a muscle you want to roll pretty quickly over the muscle back and forth 4-10 times gradually moving the roller under the muscle so that the bulk of the muscle is being compressed by the roller. With that said you want to stay 1-2 inches away from the joint or the ends of the muscles. This is where the tendons lie and compressing the tendons with the foam roller can lead to injury. Compression of the muscles allows for increased blood flow preparing the muscle to do some working out.

In addition, you also want to avoid spending a lot of time over hot spots before a workout. This is in contrast to when you are using the roller to stretch or work out tight spots after a workout. This use can result in a small inflammatory response and it is better if this does not occur prior to the workout.

So rolling quickly with less pressure over the entire muscle, avoiding the tendons and making sure not to spend a lot of time on the hot spots are the key elements to using the foam roller pre-workout. To roll out your legs back and front should take less than 5 minutes. For more information check out this article.

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