Regular exercise and performance can result in microtrauma, which is a small amount of damage to the muscle. The resulting inflammatory response may lead to scar tissue over time, which in turn, may lead to muscular dysfunctions such as, trauma, overuse, and imbalance.
In the last decade, self-myofascial release (SMR) has become an increasingly common modality to supplement soft tissue work performed by a therapist. A foam roller is the most used piece of equipment to achieve this.
Varying the body positions enables us to isolate specific areas of the body and treat restricted soft tissue.
Benefits of foam rolling
Reduces inflammation that occurs during the muscle repair process (if done correctly)
Aids in muscle repair and recovery
Helps injury prevention my maintaining muscle status and reducing tension and tightness
Increased blood flow and elasticity of muscle tissue, joints, and fascia
Is it safe?
Foam rolling is generally considered safe to do. It should be avoided if you’ve been advised not to do it, have a serious injury or unsure what you are doing.
How to start?
Start with light pressure and build up as you get use to the foam roller. It may be really painful to begin with if the muscles are really tight. To adjust the pressure, reduce the
amount of body weight you’re putting on the roller. You can use your arms to lift you up and support you to reduce the amount of load going the body part that you are foam rolling.
Be kind to the amount of time spent foam rolling initially, slow, and steady wins the race after all!
Rehydrate sufficiently to accelerate recovery.
Subsequent blogs will follow, fortnightly, each focusing on a different muscle or group of muscles. Within each blog there will be step-by-step instructions, progressions & regressions, photos and video links. So stay tuned to learn more about Foam Rolling.
It seemed like a great time to release a blog like this as we near the festive periods and the need for self-soft tissue release will be required more so than ever.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s read and are looking forward to the next few blogs that are coming up. If I don’t see you before, have a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Healey, K. C, Hatfield, D. L, Bisnpied, P, Dorfman, L. R and Riebe, D. (2014), ‘The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance’, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(1), 61-68