What Is a Foam Roller, How Do I Use It, and Why Does It Hurt? - Page 2

Jeff Kuhland

Coach

Lynchburg, Virginia, United States

MovNat, Mobility & Recovery

How Do I Know What to Foam Roll and How to Do It?

Areas to focus on can be identified in two different ways. The first is through screenings. If you have followed the last two articles - squat screening and hip hinge screening - and have had struggles with either movement, you should include foam rolling in your workout and recovery program. You may target specific areas/muscles that relate to the movements you are focusing on.

 

If after using the foam roller your movement improves, you have a more specific strategy to follow. Secondly, trigger points and tight muscles can be found through self-exploration, utilizing the list of techniques below and exploring each one.

 

 

To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen.

 

If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area. The goal is to restore healthy muscles - it is not a pain tolerance test. You may also use other objects to work on muscles such as a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, Theracane, or Trigger Point Therapy Kit.

 

Never roll a joint or bone. Avoid rolling your lower back. To target these muscles I recommend using tennis or lacrosse balls. If you are having issues with your neck, refer these issues to an appropriate medical professional, as these areas they can be more sensitive and require more advanced attention.

 

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Left photo: Lacrosse ball - hip. Right photo: Lacrosse ball - shoulder blade.

 

What Happens After Foam Rolling?

You may be sore the next day. It should feel as if your muscles have been worked/released, however you should not push yourself to the point of excessive soreness. Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and eat clean. This will help to flush your system and fuel your muscles more effectively. Give it 24-48 hours before focusing on the same area again.

 

foam roller, foam rolling, myofascial release, self-myofascial releasefoam roller, foam rolling, myofascial release, self-myofascial release

Left photo: Mid-back. Right photo: Upper back.

 

Check out these related articles for more on foam rolling:

 

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