National Foam Rolling Day…There’s an Actual Day for That!
By: VIDA Personal Trainer Jahrod Matlock
There is a day for almost everything, and on May 11, 2018 we will be celebrating National Foam Rolling Day (yes, it’s a thing!). It was started by TriggerPoint and proclaimed as a national day in 2015 as a way to educate people on the benefits of foam rolling (a.k.a. “the poor man’s massage.”) Most of us can’t afford to get a massage every day, or may not be fully aware of the benefits of a massage. A massage is the application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation.
Foam rolling involves applying gentle pressure to break up knots within the muscle to help release tension. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) foam rolling benefits include the following:
- Correction of muscle imbalances
- Muscle relaxation
- Improved joint range of motion
- Improved neuromuscular efficiency
- Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery
- Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
- Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity
- Provide optimal length-tension relationships
- Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system
(For more about foam rolling from NASM, click here). Sounds a lot like a massage right?
If you have ever had any form of deep tissue massage you can recognize the benefits (and discomfort) associated with foam rolling. Our muscles are surrounded by fascia, or myofascia, which is a thin, elastic, fibrous connective tissue (the white stuff that holds your muscles together.) When your muscles get “tight” this tissue tenses up and creates “knots” which must be released. So, in both a massage, and in foam rolling, we are kneading the knots to help release tension and pressure.
When our muscles tense up, they are in a state of constant excitement and we use myofascial release to help them relax. You can (and should!) incorporate massage into your regular wellness routine, but applying some daily self-myofascial release techniques through foam rolling will improve your body mechanics and recovery on a more consistent basis. Instead of taking a reactive approach towards relieving tension, try taking a proactive approach by implementing daily techniques to help improve muscle extensibility. In the same way we brush our teeth daily and see the dentist regularly (but less frequently!), we should also practice foam rolling daily. These techniques and practices will help you to recover better and faster so you can get more workout sessions in and see those desired results faster. Let’s make the foam roller our proverbial “apple a day!”
A lot of people will tell you that foam rolling is painful. They’re right. But, the discomfort comes from infrequent practice. Through the application of proper soft tissue manipulation techniques we can make it “hurt so good.” My go to foam roller is the Vyper by Hyperice (it’s so great…it vibrates!). On May 11, 2018 at 7:30 am grab your favorite foam roller and join me at VIDA Fitness at The Yards for a foam rolling session like you’ve never had before! If you can’t join us in person, follow along on Instagram at @trxjunkie with your foam roller ready. We’ll roll it out and start returning your muscles to proper extensibility, relieve some tension, and have some fun while making it “hurt so good.”