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What’s the Deal With Foam Rolling?

Well, you asked. Here you go! At its most basic: when you exercise you often get muscle knots or tension. When you don’t work out the knots or tension, your micro-tears can build up into injury. Foam rolling stops that. Bam.

Stretching Is Not Enough

Stretching is very beneficial and cannot be neglected. But in the case of muscle knots, stretching alone is not enough. When stretching a muscle with knots, you are only stretching the healthy muscle tissue. The knot remains a knot, laughing in the face of the stretch.

The best way to attack a troublesome muscle knot is direct pressure. A well-trained massage therapist can effectively apply pressure to break up and relieve muscle knots. These knots are pesky. It typically takes several treatment sessions to fix a well-placed knot. To make matters worse, these sneaky knots are famous for recurring again and again when you are least expecting it.

Most people have major muscle imbalances and this usually causes an entire muscle group to get very tight, or over activated. Also, most people have a laundry list of past and present physical trauma that has caused a body full of knots, scar tissue and sticky adhesions to form all over their muscles and tendons. Rolling can and will help work out those adhesions, scar tissue, knots and also help to restore normal flexibility and range of motion.

Foam rolling, to be technical, is a form of self myofascial release (SMR). SMR allows the muscle to relax and this in turn can help rid the areas of the unwanted scaring, knots, and ugly adhesions. Muscles need to be strong and supple at the same time through an entire range of motion. Foam rolling helps the body achieve this. Just as I believe that stretching is essential for good overall muscle health, foam rolling is in the same category. While stretching elongates the muscle tissue, foam rolling helps to ensure proper muscle quality.

The best way to eliminate and prevent muscle knots is the foam roller. The foam roller is a firm foam log that is six inches in diameter. Use the roller against the muscle knots with your own body weight to generate the direct pressure. Imagine using a rolling pin to roll out lumps in bread dough. A foam roller is a good alternative to repetitive trips to the massage therapist. Your foam roller is always available and doesn’t accept tips! Bottom line: The foam roller is an inexpensive, yet highly effective way to treat and prevent the most common injuries seen in runners. A few minutes a day can help keep you on the road for years to come.

Key Points for Specific Foam Roller Exercises

1. Roll back and forth across the painful or stiff area for 60 seconds.
2. Spend extra time directly over the knot or trigger point itself.
3. Roll the injured area two to three time a day. For prevention of injuries, two to three times a week is recommended.
4. Avoid rolling over bony areas.
5. Always stretch the area following foam rolling.

Sources: runningtimes.com

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