Foam rolling is no joke! It hurts! It feels like little marbles smacking together underneath your skin, but once you get through this little annoying pain, it feels sooooo good.
Weird? I guess, but in a way, it’s kind of like a workout because if you aren’t working and tearing muscle fibres, you won’t obtain any results. I’m not talking about the whole, “no pain, no gain” because really that takes things to a whole different level. Exercise isn’t about hurting yourself, and people misuse that whole quote. What it really means is if you aren’t feeling the lactic acid within the muscle, you aren’t getting anywhere with your lifting. No pain = muscle tears, No gain = results.
Foam rolling is the same way. If you’re too easy with it, you aren’t going to roll out the knots in your muscle enough. So you have to man up and deal with a little bit of uncomfortable pain for about 60 seconds and then you’ll feel amazing.
|| what is foam rolling? ||
Foam rolling is a myofascial release (MFR) technique used which aids in soft tissue therapy and recovery of muscles which are overactive, tight and cause pain.
Fascia is a thin, tough, elastic type of connective tissue which is within the muscle and provides support and protection. It can become tight due to overuse, injury or inactivity. As fascia becomes restricted it can cause discomfort, pain, muscle tension and a lack of blood flow.
By using a foam roller, you can release fascia by rolling the foam roller under the specified muscle until the tender area is found. Once you find your tender area, maintain rolling that area for about 30 – 60 seconds. After doing this if you are aware of pressure points within the body and how to work with them, you can also use them to help release tension even more.
By working with these tight areas within the muscle and applying pressure using a foam roller, this helps to assist the muscles to function back to normal. Normal meaning; not tight and able to perform quickly.
When rolling a tight muscle you will experience discomfort or pain. Think of it as the same kind of pain as when you are stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not hurting so much you can’t bear the pain. After foam rolling, you should feel relief, comfort and relaxed.
|| why foam rolling? ||
+ reduces tight muscles
+ helps to relieve the feeling of a “big muscle pump” after a workout (aka; lactic acid build up)
…but then again, sometimes this muscle pump is fun. Selfie time maybe? 😉
+ help maintain or increase flexibility
+ prevents injury which could be caused by tight spots within the muscle
+ can help overall recovery post workout
+ assists in breaking up tight knots within the muscle
+ helps improve blood flow
+ helps improve muscular performance
+ improves joint range of motion
|| my lower body foam rolling routine ||
My lower body is pretty much the complete opposite of my upper body. This is because of A) practically living in 6 inch heels has caused some extreme tightness in my calves which is slowly working its way up into my hamstrings B) sitting all day long at work, which I’ve been doing for over 9 years now and it does not help with my already tight hamstrings, and C) not pushing through my comfort zone when it comes to stretching.
Until a few months ago I was too afraid to push through the stretching “shakes” because I didn’t want to tear something or cause any injury. After doing a ton of research, I became comfortable with pushing through this and have been working on increasing flexibility throughout my entire body.
I’ve come up with a few different ways which I roll out my tight muscles. I specifically stuck with a few different ways to roll my hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes. There are a few pictures where I have shown a double (both legs) and single way to work the roll, but I didnt’ do this for all of them.
Each of these rolls can easily be done a few different ways; single, or double. Do what you find is comfortable. When it comes to the single leg hamstring roll, I find that if I place my opposite foot on the shin of the leg I’m rolling, it causes more pressure, which means it hurts more. Sometimes I will start off with this roll and do it two or three times per leg, then move into a double quad roll because I can’t bear how much it hurts.
Know your body!
Remember you want it to feel uncomfortable, but you don’t need to be rolling in tears. Don’t do anything that causes too much pain. It is extremely important to listen to your body and know when to stop.
|| HAMSTRINGS ||
SINGLE LEG HAMSTRING ROLL
DOUBLE HAMSTRING ROLL
|| QUADRICEPS ||
SINGLE QUAD ROLL
DOUBLE QUAD ROLL
SINGLE LEG SIDE OF THE QUAD ROLL
|| CALVES ||
DOUBLE CALF ROLL
|| GLUTES ||
SINGLE GLUTE ROLL
WEARING: top & sports bra: Lululemon
If you find you have a smaller area that you want to focus on, you can also use a lacrosse ball the same way you would use a foam roller. For example, I use a lacrosse ball to softly roll over the tops of my feet. Having super tight calves can naturally work its way down into the top of the foot, pulling your toes upward. Maybe you’ve noticed before if you’ve really taken a close look at this picture while I’m performing the bodyweight plie squat. The tips of my toes remove from the ground as I squat. This is caused my over tight calf muscles.