You might have never heard of it but ‘foam rolling’ is something that we should all do prior to and after our fitness workouts. Foam rolling provides a host of benefits, the biggest of these is probably injury prevention. In this article, Chloe, a personal trainer based in Abu Dhabi UAE describes what foam rolling is and how it can help you.
Foam rolling allows you to self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points, the technical name given to this is ‘self-myofascial release’ Foam rollers are cylinder in shape and vary size, some have bumps and dimples to target deeper into the muscle tissue and other are completely smooth.
Foam rolling for as little as 5 mins before you start your workout can help with injury prevention. The rolling helps stimulate the muscles increasing blood flow to the areas and will help reduce muscle tension, which in turn can maximize your workout potential. This should be done before anything else even stretching or a cardio warm up.
Post Workout/Recovery …
Using foam rolling as part of your cool down can help flush out the blood in the worked muscles, and aid in replenishing the muscles with fresh nutrients and oxygen reducing the amount of lactic acid. Lactic acid build ups are caused when the oxygen supply is no longer meeting the muscles demand, in turn the lactic acid builds up as a temporary substitute. This allows the muscles to continue working at the same rate for a short period of time.
This contributes to muscle soreness after exercise, the quicker you can reduce lactic acid levels in the muscles, the quicker they will recover and be able to train at the same intensity again.
Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation & Flexibility…
As discussed previously foam rolling can be used in both a warm up and cool down to aid in injury prevention and muscle recovery.
The foam rolling stretches the fascia/connective tissues which surround the muscles, which as well as releasing muscle tension can help elongate the muscles helping to improve flexibility. This is vital to both injury provision and injury rehabilitation particularly in the case of tendon and ligament damage.
When the muscles become too tight and muscular flexibility is reduced, this can put extra straight on the tendons and ligaments which generally have a lot less flexibility than muscles as they contain less elastic tissue, and are not intended to stretch, this in turn can result in tendon and ligament tearing and ruptures.
Foam rolling can prevent the muscles losing they’re flexibility along with regular stretching, and in the case of a pre-existing injury increase the flexibility helping with future prevention, whilst causing little impact to the recovering area.