For the longest time, I had trouble with super tight hamstrings…I tried all kinds of stretches and yoga poses, but nothing was working.
On one of my first days working at the gym, I mentioned the problem to our head trainer. Without hesitating, she lead me over to the foam roller and showed me how to use it.
I couldn’t believe how effective it was! After my workout, I went home and looked foam rolling up in my personal trainer textbook…Turns out, there are a lot of awesome benefits!
When you foam roll, you’re actually practicing self-myofascial release… Myofascial release is the technique a massage therapist uses when performing a deep-tissue massage. The therapist uses a combination of pressure and different motions to force muscles to release tension and restore mobility. Most of us can’t get a deep-tissue massage after every workout, but foam rolling is easily accessible and gives similar results.
So what are the benefits of foam rolling?
- Increased blood flow
- Decreased chance of injury
- Decreased delayed onset muscle soreness
- Cheaper than regular visits to a massage therapist
- Can also be used as an effective workout tool
Ideally, you would foam roll both before and after your workout…Since I’m usually limited on time, I just make sure to always do it as my cool down.
Foam rollers are pretty inexpensive and provide so many great benefits! Lots of gyms have them, but getting one of your own is pretty great.
I love this one from Target. It’s long enough that I don’t feel like I’m going to fall off, and dense enough to provide plenty of pressure.
If you’re looking for an even deeper massage, check this one out!
Now, before I send you off to foam roll yourself into oblivion, I should probably mention one thing…
Sometimes, foam rolling hurts. Don’t let that scare you! It’s worth it in the end… no pain, no gain…right?
Do you foam roll? What is your favorite way to combat muscle stiffness?
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