The Secret Behind Post Workout Recovery? The Foam Roller
It happens to us all. We’ve hit it hard in the gym and pushed ourselves to our very limits. Satisfaction is met and you can go to bed feeling very happy with yourself only to wake up the next morning and think one thing…” Oh god, my legs! I can’t walk!”. So how do you boost post workout recovery and prevent giving off the impression that you’ve undergone knee surgery as you’re walking into the office the next day? Today we’re looking at Foam Rollers and why your body will thank you for using one.
The foam roller has come into prominence as of late. Something that’s been around for a while but hasn’t had much attention is all of a sudden becoming a fitness craze once again. But why is that? People are discovering that using a foam roller to either warm up or cool down helps with post workout recovery. If you’re unfamiliar with this human rolling pin then to put to simply, it consists of using your body weight to massage tissue and muscles.
It lessens the impact of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also known as DOMS. DOMS takes effect mainly 24 hours to 48 hours after your workout and is caused by micro trauma to the connective tissue in the muscles. Intense workouts cause muscles to incur inflammation which causes microscopic tears. So if you’re still groaning as you go to sit down on the toilet then this is probably why. The idea of using a foam roller before or after a workout aims to prevent this making muscles more relaxed and pliable for any workout it is about to endure.
A lot of research has been done in the past which shows foam rolling before a workout aids in injury prevention. The argument is that foam rolling muscles is prepping them for use. By doing this, it stimulates the muscle fibres and increases blood flow so you’re less likely to pull or injure something.
Warming down is also another use of a foam roller. Much like the thinking behind using it as a warm up, warming down with a foam roller will help blood flow to the muscles. It’ll also stretch out and relieve soreness to any tight muscles that have contracted during the workout and will help loosen them.
A huge endorser of the foam roller is world leader in strength and conditioning; Mike Boyle. Mike trains a large number of American athletes ranging from the NHL, NFL to Major League Baseball so in this respect, he knows his onions. Speaking to Men’s Health on the foam roller he says, “It prepares your muscles for the stresses of the workout, and allows you to perform without injury”. Mike Boyle also recommends to use the foam roller for after a workout as well. “The irritation is painful in the short term, but the response is a healing one, not a negative one. In soft tissue mobilization, the tissue is deliberately disrupted in order to produce the exact substances that the tissue needs to heal itself again”. Boyle claims that all of his athletes foam roll and places huge importance on it for a healthy workout and recovery. If you do foam rolling correctly and consistently, then it will help in preventing muscle stiffness and breaks up adhesions and scar tissue that stop your muscles from functioning properly.
Foam rolling has benefits that extend to further than just workouts as well. By using a foam roller on a consistent basis then you will achieve a better range of motion in areas such as the legs, core and back. This lead to a much better quality of life and will stretch out the muscles that get cramped while you’re hunched over at your office desk.
For all of you yoga lovers out there, it’s a fantastic tool to aid in yoga positions and poses as well. By using a foam roller in your yoga sessions, then they’ll assist in sculpting those abs and shaping your legs. There’s loads of benefits to using a foam while in your yoga sessions. For example, by using a foam roller as a stabiliser whilst holding any yoga pose, then you activate more core muscles and make the pose much more challenging and effective. The JLL Foam Yoga Roller is available in a variety of eye catching colours for a current low price of £9.99 and is sturdy enough to help anyone who needs it for yoga poses, warming up, warming down or physiotherapy, which brings me onto my next point…
Physiotherapy is also an area that benefits greatly from the foam roller. As it can be used for strengthening muscle areas, it’s a great piece of equipment working on getting back to full fitness. Whether a muscle has been torn or pulled, then using a foam roller to put pressure on the muscle to strengthen it is a great method used by many athletes and average joes to rehabilitate.
Try these workouts and to get the full use out of your foam roller:
- Crunches: Do a usual crunch except propel yourself with a foam roller positioned under your shoulder blades. You’ll force your core to work harder as it’s trying to balance your body.
- Pressups/Plank: The same logic applies to press ups and planks. Do your usual routine except use a foam roller as a stabiliser. This will increase the intensity of the workout so you will reap more benefits!
And these foam roller massages are great for a warm down:
- Roll your hamstrings: Loosen up your hamstrings to relieve back pain have a looser core. Sit on your foam roller with your legs outstretched and place your hands on the floor behind you. When the foam roller is under your hamstrings, slowly roll back and forth from the base of your glutes to the bend of your knees.
- Roll you quadriceps: This is the most common foam roller massage. Lay on your front as in a plank position and position the roller under your thighs. From here, roll yourself back and forth making sure to massage those thighs
These a just a few of many positions that your foam roller can be used. It can be used to massage any muscle that is feeling tight or needs massaging as it provides an excellent sports injury massage. It can also be used in a variety of ways with your usual workout to intensify it and improve your balance. The low price coupled with the convenience of the product (it can be stored practically anywhere!) means that the foam roller is a fantastic investment to make.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here and that’s probably a lot to take in. The reason for that is because of how versatile the foam roller is. The JLL Foam Yoga Roller can be purchased from our website or from the eBay and Amazon stores for the current low price of £7.99.