In my first session working with a new client, I always start with the use of a foam roller. The first response is typically, “This really hurts!” or “Why are you making me do this?!?” My goal by writing this is to clarify the reasons why.
The technical term for what you are doing when you use a foam roller is Self-Myofascial Release, or SMR. Here are a few reasons why it is a GOOD thing, even though it’s not always comfortable:
– Inhibit overactive muscles that cause movement compensations
– Help reduce the side effects of trigger points
– Improve flexibility and overall better movement
– Reduce muscle soreness
Types of foam rollers:
– Vary from firm to soft. Firm rollers provide more pressure.
– Sport balls can be used as well. Soft being a tennis ball, firm being a baseball.
– There are also textured rollers that give more pressure with points on the surface.
Guidelines for foam rolling:
– Can be done everyday
– Can be done on almost any muscle group
– If lying on the floor is difficult, you can use a roller or a small ball against a wall.
– Put as much pressure as you can tolerate on each body part you roll
– Roll with good pressure for 30 seconds if you tolerate pain well. Roll for 90 seconds with light pressure if you don’t tolerate pain well.
A foam roller is something that you should have at home so you can use every day if needed. Here is a link to where I get mine: Foam Rollers
Source: National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist Textbook