Ladies and Gentleman, here is the answer to the age-old question I know you have been waiting for. The question that causes you to lose sleep at night, the thing you’re thinking about when your husband/wife or significant other is telling you about their day, so without further ado, here it is: Should you foam roll? Yup, that’s what I figured, you’re probably screaming inside with excitement right now, I know, take a second to settle yourself and lets jump into the 3 biggest questions surrounding foam rolling.
1. What are the benefits? 2. Should you do it before or after a workout, and for how long? 3. What is the correct technique to use?
The topic of foam rolling; although a super simple concept, seems to be one of big discussion and varying opinions producing studies with contradicting results and further clouding the general population as to it’s efficacy. I want to tackle the topic of “foam rolling” as a whole, so bear with me through the boring, nerdy stuff. In order for you to get a good grasp on the reasoning behind the use of foam rollers, we need to get in to a little bit of anatomy and physiology first. So… here we go.
Note: this might be different for you, but try and tell me if it makes a difference. 1. Lats: Regardless of how often I foam roll, my lats always seem to be tight and sensitive. Permitting them to release a little bit before a workout allows me to get better scapular retraction, particularly during deadlifts and bench pressing. Lay on your side with the bottom arm outstretched and the roller 6 inches under your armpit, slowly work it up into your armpit, once you get there let your top shoulder fall back a little and BREATHE! 2. Glutes: The glutes are actually done better using a lacrosse ball, or even a street hockey ball. Place the ball under your butt, lift that leg up and cross it over top of the opposite knee, roll around until you find a spot that makes you want to scream/cry/vomit and relax. 3. Calves: This one is of importance to me due to previous injuries, causing my right calf to become extremely tight when exercising, particularly during any lunge, squat or sprint activities. Most people do have the same issues with their calves, but nonetheless it is still a good spot to hit. Put your arms under your butt, calves on the roller and start at the Achilles and work up to the back of your knee. You can also do each leg individually if it makes things easier. 4. Quads: Get on your elbows as if you were about to perform the world’s best plank, place the roller at the top of your knees and work your way up to your hips. Rotating your hips side to side can also allow the roller to get a little deeper and hit areas that might be neglected if you only roll with them straight. 5. Adductors: This really helps to open up the hips and seems to be a very tight area on most individuals. Lay on your stomach, bend one leg to the side so your hip is at a 45 degree angle and your knee is at a 90 degree angle, and place the roller on the inside of your leg just above your knee. Once again, work your way up to the hip and repeat for the other leg. If you have any further questions on how to use foam rolling to increase the effectiveness of your workouts, hit me up on twitter @HL_Nick. This is the one time when I will say “if it hurts it means it’s working.” Enjoy rolling!