Nowadays the fitness industry is experiencing continuous growth, lots of gyms and fitness studious are opening almost every single day, more and more people are also getting involved in taking care of their bodies. But the definition of “taking care of your own body” is much more than just doing physical exercises in the gym. If you train hard, you should recover even “harder”, in order not to get injured and be able to be in sports for as long as possible. Not only it refers to the gym’s newcomers, but also to professional athletes, who have one or even two training sessions almost every single day. That’s when foam roller comes to use.
Yes, correct, that cylinder-shaped strange thing with ridges and knobs you might have already seen in the gym is called “foam roller”. And this is your magical tool for the fastest recovery! Every professional sportsman knows that muscle recovery is as important as a good training session, so a lot of athletes have special massage sessions almost after each training day. But what if you are not a competing professional athlete with several sponsors and personal massage therapist and you don’t have time or enough money to afford yourself to have a massage session after each training? Yes, foam roller can solve all these problems and, to some extent, even replace a good therapist! Let’s take a quick look at the reasons why foam roller has become such a popular thing among sportsmen of different levels.
First of all, if we use some scientific terms, foam rolling is referred to as self-myofascial release (SMR) and it has almost the same effect as massage. It can help you relieve muscle soreness, stiffness, reduce inflammation and help with your joints’ mobility. The foam roller can be used for a warm-up before training (don’t recommend to stretch on it before the training a lot though) or as a perfect stretching cooldown after. So, let’s crucial stress benefits of using the foam roller again:
- Reduce muscle soreness – it’s proven by lots of athletes that your target muscle feels way better on the next day after a hardcore workout if you use a foam roller right after it. Based on my experience, I can say that after a workout that consisted of 300 clean pull-ups in total, I still was able to do weighted muscle-ups on the second day, just before I spent some time rolling my lats right after
- Increase range of motion – if you don’t stretch or foam roll after the training, your muscles, of course, will recover by themselves, BUT after some time of crushing your workouts and not doing foam rolling, you will realize that even though your muscles are not sore anymore, but you don’t feel well while doing the exercise anymore. You feel heavy, you have some discomfort in your joints etc. That’s what is called muscle stiffness, which has a direct influence on your range of motion;
- Reduce stress – apart from some fitness health benefits, the foam roller is also a great stress reliever. After using it for some time, you might feel calmer and more relaxed.
Foam rolling is one the best ways to get that portion of massage your body requires after a crazy workout or even after a hard day of sitting at work. Even though it’s considered to be extremely safe, I would not recommend people who have never done that before to start massaging themselves for a long time. Start slowly, choose a softer foam roller and, of course, don’t massage areas with small muscles and joints, such as your ankles, knees and elbows. Try to focus more on big muscle groups and on muscles around your joints.
After one month or even several weeks of using this super useful tool after your training, you will see and feel the difference in your performance and mobility! Let’s get it started!