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The use of foam rollers has become increasingly popular over the past decade, and for good reason. They are a great way to reduce tension and to increase the length of muscles for a pre-workout warm-up or a post-workout recovery. Technically known as self-myofascial release (SMR), the use of foam rollers for reducing muscle tension has become a widely accepted fitness practice.
There are two prevailing theories regarding why foam rolling works:
While your clients may be less interested in how it works, they definitely want to know why they should be foam rolling on a regular basis.
Now that we know how they work, let’s take a look at why they work. Here are six specific benefits of using foam rollers that you can share with your friends and family.
When most people finish their workouts, their muscles feel like they got hit by a Komatsu tractor. They feel heavy and tight. Foam rolling works to release that stress and lengthen those muscles so that they feel refreshed. Another issue is that people get what we call a ‘workout hangover’ the next day. This is similar to an alcohol hangover as you feel nothing but pain and regret. Thankfully, foam rollers after a workout will help prevent this, allowing you to have a successful workout the next day.
Foam rolling helps prevent injuries associated with tightness and overuse, such as iliotibial band syndrome. Tight muscles have an increased risk of injury as they are not flexible enough to sustain the wear and tear of a strenuous activity such as working out. Foam rolling helps your muscles to relax and recover faster.
Muscle fascia are fibrous connective tissues that surround and penetrate our muscles. If a knot forms, it reduces your flexibility. Think of an elastic band that you have looped around itself 3 times. The band doesn’t have much flexibility and feels very tight. You may even have a knot form if you suck at following simple instructions. Fortunately, foam rolling is a form of myofascial release and regular foam rolling will help you stay limber.
4. Improve Circulation
Circulation in muscles is everything. A muscle that does not have good blood supply will die, just like any other tissue in the body. Think of a Zebra that has been attacked by a Lion in the wilderness and is slowly bleeding out due to a vicious bite. The zebra will begin to slowly get weaker and will eventually die. Thankfully, foam rollers apply pressure that temporarily opens the blood vessels supplying blood to that muscle. They also work to break up lactic acid deposits, which improves circulation as well.
Just like a massage, foam rolling can serve as a stress release. Recent studies suggest that it can lower your levels of the cortisol, a stress hormone. Foam rolling can be a cheap alternative to a post-workout massage. The feeling of relaxation after a workout is a key psychological benefit that makes foam rollers good for the body and mind!
In general, foam rollers provide the greatest response when placing a body-part directly on top of the roller and moving rhythmically to apply pressure to the underlying tissues. The Rehab Roller makes it easier to attack hard-to-reach muscle groups and provides the perfect post-workout recovery tool.