Foam rolling isn’t something that you ought to fly through. Dillon Spicer, CPT and Thunder Boxing coach, says it’s essential to go gradually and ensure you’re taking as much time as needed as you’re rolling, as it very well may be extreme on your tight muscles. You’re easing all that repressed pressure.
After doing that brutal HIIT class or a long run, your muscles will most likely be sore. These hard-working muscles have broken down during exercise. They need rest to repair themselves, so if you don’t give your body some attention and enough time to recover, you’ll increase your risk of overuse injury.
Using a foam roller post-workout has become very general because you can hit those trigger points and soothe sore muscles from every angle. Foam rolling is a way to goal fascia, also known as the connective tissue surrounding bones, muscles, and joints that can become tight. Some gyms and coaches even offer specific recovery class workouts with foam rollers dedicated to stretching your muscles.
It sounds too simple to mess it all up. In some cases, you might be doing more harm than good. There are specific moves and techniques for rolling foam the right way to stimulate muscle recovery and healing without causing additional pain or simply wasting time.
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Common Foam Rolling Mistakes
If you’re by a foam roller, your muscles are likely already sore, so you’ll want to avoid common mistakes and follow recommended best practices. Here, the experts weigh in on the common mistakes you might be making with a foam roller and what to do when you’re stretching your muscles instead.
Using the Wrong Pressure
There is a sweet spot regarding pressure when it comes to foam rolling. It’s common to use too much or too little, but you won’t be able to repair damaged muscle tissue properly.
“The muscle you’re working on can take a while to relax,” says Chris Aronsen, a NASM-certified senior fitness specialist and ACE-certified personal trainer in New York City. “I prefer a slower to medium speed because I find it more effective at releasing tension without causing excessive tension,”.
Also, not all body parts are equal: some strengths have trigger points or are tighter than others. Using the same pressure for each issue isn’t intelligent, says Aronsen. “Some areas you’re working on may not have much tension, while others may have a lot. Apply your pressure accordingly and recall: your body will tell you what it needs,” he explains.
Spending Too Long on Specific Areas
Though some areas are tenser, you should not overdo it by staying too long in one place. “Recommended times in any zone would be 30 seconds to a minute,” says Susie Lemmer, a NASM-certified personal trainer and athletic trainer in Chicago. “For 30 seconds, hold the muscle over the roller and apply steady pressure, then spend another 30 seconds to a minute of dynamic pressure, exploring the fascia,” she explains. Dynamic pressure means it will move the foam roller, as opposed to static pressure, where it would hold it in one place. “Start static, then move to dynamic,” advises Lemmer.
A great way to effectively explore the fascia and foam roller is to hold the roller in one place as you rotate it from side to side, then move your body up and down along the muscle; you move as he moves, Lemmer said.
Foam Rolling a Cold Muscle
When you spend too far time in one place, you risk bruising and injury, especially when you’re doing it before a workout on a “cold” muscle (meaning a power that hasn’t warmed up from activity), Lemmer explains. However, “you can foam stretch a ‘cold’ muscle much more safely than static or dynamic stretching of a cold muscle,” she says. “Self-myofascial release (foam rolling) is a recommended first step in warming up,” she notes.
The risks of improperly stretching the muscles are equivalent to receiving a too brutal massage, including bruising. If you hurt yourself with the foam roller, you probably want to ice it. “And any type of swelling or loss of function, range of motion, or strength, seek medical attention immediately,” says Lemmer.
Rolling In Only One Direction
“The fascia extends in all directions, so you want to ensure you cover them all,” says Lemmer. First, start by holding the roller steady and twisting the limb from side to side (like a screwdriver). Then, wrap the length of the muscle, recommends Lemmer.
As long as you do it properly, foam rolling is a generally safe approach to develop your exercise execution further and improve your well-being. If you’re new to froth rolling or simply not sure, assuming you’re getting everything done as well as possible, here are a few regular mix-ups to pay special attention to.
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