Foam Rolling 101
By Danny Arnold (C.S.E.P. CPT) (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, certified personal trainer)
Myofascial Release is the relaxation of the fascia around the muscle, which tightens with exercise and overuse. There are many ways to release the tension in the fascia such as massage and foam rolling. Foam rolling is one of the most effective ways to release fascia, essentially giving you a personal massage.
However, one of the major problems with foam rolling is that when done improperly it can lead to injury and reoccurring pains.
Foam rolling can be done prior to working out as a warm-up. This is because it is close to the same mechanism as dynamic stretching, allowing the body to receive stimuli while not overexerting itself. The foam roller should never come in direct contact with a bone, tendon, ligament, spine, or a joint.
Foam rolling should be done in a slow and controlled manner and in the same direction as the muscle fibers. If there are any lumps or sensitive areas, leave the roller on said area for 15-25 seconds to release any tense muscles or knots.
A major area to consider is the back, everyday activity such as standing and sitting without a conscious effort can cause the upper back, shoulders and neck to have a curvature which creates a, “hunch back” look. Thus inactivating and stretching the muscle. Therefore, there is no need to stretch the muscle further, unless there is a problem in the area.