Feeling Stuck? Foam Roll Your Way to Better Movement
When it comes to releasing tight spots, these foam rolling fundamentals will keep you moving and feeling better.
Exercise can provide almost immediate benefits to the brain: moderate to vigorous cardio can provide fresh blood and oxygen to the brain and increase memory and mood within 20 minutes. The side effects on your physique are a good thing, too, but the only way to get the aesthetic benefits of exercise is to make it a part of your lifestyle by making it a habit.
If you have been working out for a considerable amount of time, you may have come to enjoy a little soreness after a great workout. It’s sort of like the bad taste of cough medicine – it has to mean it’s working, right? But the human body is wired to make pain avoidance a priority. If someone is new to working out, it may be difficult for to see or feel pain as being a reward. By introducing foam rolling both before and after a workout, you can reduce some of this pain and possibly make working out the habit it needs to become, in order to get lasting results.
Foam rolling before a workout increases blood flow and helps to unstick “sticky” parts in the body.
Think of the hips, for example. After sitting for several hours, all the muscles of the hips sort of stick together. Using the foam roller in this area for one or two minutes can get things working better and increase your range of motion. If areas of your body are moving more easily, the muscles will fire better and you may increase your performance and decrease chances of injury.
When the workout is over, using the foam roller for another couple of minutes will help to speed up the recovery process and may reduce some soreness and get you back in the gym quicker. Studies do not suggest foam rolling will completely eliminate soreness after an intense workout (so don’t worry, you will still feel like you did something!). However, direct compression with the foam roller to the working muscles helps to “flush” out much of the by-product of muscle contractions that contribute to soreness.
So, if you want to increase your chances of success to achieve your goals, then give your body a fighting a chance by foam rolling.
Foam rolling will be a much deserved treat to your muscles. Just a few minutes before and after your workout can have a lasting impact on your response to exercise. Here are three key areas and how to videos to begin with:
1. Lower Leg
The calves have a surprising influence on movement. While you may feel pain in other muscles more than the calves, the types of shoes we wear and our walking patterns can often lead to very tight calves. If the ankle and foot don’t work well then the rest of the body will have a very difficult time functioning properly. Learn how to release your calf with TriggerPoint’s GRID Methods Lower Leg video.
The glutes (muscles in the hips) are some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. These muscles work to help us walk, run, and even stand up straight. Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles don’t give these muscles much of a chance. Sitting all day dehydrates these muscles and leads to adhesions that prevent them from working to their full capacity. Learn how to unlock your hips and glutes with TriggerPoint’s GRID Methods Hip/Glute release video.
The lats have a surprising impact on movement. They are the only muscle that directly connects the arm with the lower body. Therefore, if the lower body is not working optimally, it is not unusual for the lats to tighten in response and alter how the upper body is working. Learn how to release tight Lats with TriggerPoint’s GRID Methods Side Torso release video.
Did you know May 11 is National Foam Rolling Day? Grab your foam roller and show us the best way you roll by posting on social media using #nationalfoamrollingday. Join TriggerPoint and Stronghorn Fitness at Zilker Park May 11 at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE Community National Foam Rolling Day workout + rollout. Follow TriggerPoint on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
About the Author
Kyle Stull is the Manager of Research and Program Design for TriggerPoint and a Faculty Instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He holds a Doctorate in Health Sciences, MS in Rehabilitation, is an LMT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and NASM-CES. As a member of the Fascia Research Society and the International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine, Kyle is committed to being at the forefront of industry developments and maintaining the highest standards in his practice by incorporating the latest research into his work.