Foam Rolling: Life Saver or Torture Device?

Megan Hanriot
NASM CPT, NASM PES, NASM CES

How often have you heard how great foam rolling is for you? And after trying it, I’m sure you found yourself wondering why.
First, what exactly is foam rolling? It’s a form of self myofascial release, or SMR for short.
Recently, one of the biggest and most interesting subjects of research in the fitness industry is fascia and it’s purpose. Fascia is under your skin and it’s a connective tissue that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and internal organs.

So much is still unknown about fascia, but emphasis on supporting and improving its function is imperative. SMR is a technique utilized to target your fascia and help it relax.
Relaxation of fascia is attributed to increased muscle range of motion (ROM) during exercise and decreased delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) post exercise.
Including foam rolling into your pre and post workout routines has been extensively tested and the result are in! Proper use of foam rolling can improve ROM and helps to greatly diminish DOMS.
Having used it myself, I can say that while muscle soreness is normal, you should never feel like you got run over by a truck two days post leg day. Foam rolling can be a life saver and a great tool to incorporate into your workout life.
Follow me for proper foam rolling technique, or else you could turn this wonderful tool into a torture device.

Contraindications:
Please consult physician if you have circulation issues, bruise easily, or have varicose veins. Also, foam rolling may not be the best SMR technique for you if you have knee issues and/or difficulty moving to and from the ground.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/

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