Foam rolling is a widely used therapeutic technique used by a variety of individuals, from the likes of recreational exercisers all the way to professional athletes. It is typically used during warm-ups and cool downs, inducing benefits by way of myofascial release. Myofascial release is a form of manual therapy which aims to reduce myofascial tightness in your muscles.
This release of tension and tightness is thought to bring about improvements in flexibility, recovery and short-term athletic performance. Read on for Foam Rolling: Top 5 Reasons Why You Must Get One and Use It!
1. Alleviates Muscle Pain
Arguably the biggest reason for incorporating foam rolling into your routine is to reduce the pain experienced after exercise (delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS) and speed up the recovery process.
A study comparing a group of physically active men found that 20 minutes of foam rolling after exercise led to less DOMS in comparison to the group that didn’t foam roll. This effect is important for those who don’t want to be impaired by pain and carry on with their regular exercise routine.
2. Improves Mobility & Flexibility
Research has suggested foam rolling can increase your range of motion and consequently increase your flexibility. Consistent use of a foam roller has been shown to improve long-term flexibility however, less frequent bouts may only lead to temporary improvements. It has also been reported that foam rolling in addition to static stretching is most effective when enhancing a joint’s range of motion.
3. Improves Athletic Performance
In recent years, static stretching during a warm up has been shown to impair performance by reducing variables such as power output, reaction time and strength endurance.
On the other hand, foam rolling has consistently shown to have no negative consequences on athletic performance. Therefore, that’s all the more reason to add it into your exercise routine in addition to dynamic stretching.
4. Saves You Money
Not everyone can afford to book regular appointments for massage therapy, a good massage therapist can cost around £50-75 per session which is rather expensive over time.
However, foam rollers can provide a solid long-term investment at the cost of around £15-£25 with similar benefits to manual therapy. If you can try out a vibrating roller (like the Pulseroll, or Pulseball) definitely do so, they’re just too effective to not have at least one at home!
5. Short & Sweet: Just 10-15 Minutes will do the Job
A lot of us lead busy lives and may find it hard to incorporate yet another activity into an already busy routine. Thankfully, foam rolling sessions don’t consume that much time, and only take between 10-15 minutes. It is recommended that 3-5 sets of 20-30 second repetitions, 3-5 times a week will lead to optimum results.
Despite various studies supporting the use of foam rolling, the actual body of research regarding foam rolling is still relatively new and we still don’t know the full and exact mechanisms underpinning the aforementioned benefits.
Therefore, the optimum way of using a foam roller is still up for debate. Everyone is different and what works for someone else may not work for you, so my best advice is try one out and analyse the benefits you notice! Into foam rolling? How does it best help you? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!