The Benefits of Foam Rolling
The Benefits of Foam Rolling
by Erik Strouse, MS
Hey VIDA folks. It’s been a while since I’ve written you an article! I am going to present you with some info on Foam Rolling! I see people do it, and I’m sure there are a ton of you that wonder what the heck it is done for. It is commonly avoided because it “hurts”, and for some, extensively! For those of you that did not know it hurts, just so you know, it definitely can. If it hurts, it’s an indicator that you should probably keep doing it!
Here’s the deal; foam rolling does many things for the body, but to summarize it, it’s like giving yourself a deep tissue massage. To give you a few more details on what it does, I will give you a bit of the cool stuff called exercise science. Thinking back to the idea of a massage, it is often a common statement for your therapist to say “man, you have a big ‘knot’ right here.” They then proceed to work on that location quite a bit. After they are done, you feel so much looser and relaxed. Essentially, a knot is part of the muscle that does not release its contraction. Foam rolling can help relax knots and reduce muscle tension significantly. In turn, it allows that muscle tissue to function the way it is supposed to.
The other area that foam rolling helps is by breaking up what are called “adhesions.” Adhesions are connective tissue that can form for many reasons such as being immobile all day in a certain position. It is the body adapting to a lack of movement! What adhesions can do is interfere with the muscles ability to contract and slide properly.
Both knots and adhesions can pull on the muscle, and over time create soreness. This is one of the reasons foam rolling hurts for some people. Rolling the areas of a tenderness can help work these adhesions and knots out. The more you do it, the less it’ll hurt because it’ll work out all of the bad stuff. There’s a lot of other goodness that comes from rolling your body out such as improved circulation! But in short, it helps get that muscle tissue to slide and move at an optimum level.
Here’s the thing about foam rolling, though. Just rolling back and forth doesn’t cut it. Rolling can help with circulation and some muscle relaxation, but there really is a “best practice” approach to ensure you get the body to respond properly. Think about getting a massage from a professional massage therapist versus a friend. Granted, the friend’s massage may feel great, but the professional’s is outright amazing. The reason this is so has everything to do with technique. Come join me on Saturday, April 18th at 12:30 PM for an hour and a half seminar on foam rolling open to VIDA members. Send me an email to get on my list at email@example.com! I can only fit so many people! It’s FREE, and will really help you learn how to approach this awesome practice!