Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
Table of Contents
How to use exercise foam rollers Amazing #1 Guide
Why Do Foam Rollers Exercise?
I would recommend Exercise Foam Rollers Before and after a workout. To help release muscle tension.
The best Foam Rolling is after a light jog.
Also, foam Rolling is especially useful for athletes who can’t afford the costs of regular massage.
It decreases muscle density to help the athlete feel more relaxed so they can warm up better.
As the Great American Coach Bud Winter said, the more relaxed and warm you are during the warmup, the better you will perform.
And this means better performance also in competition.
How long an athlete roll is also determined on a case-by-case basis.
While usually allowing five to 10 minutes for soft tissue activation work at the beginning of the session before the warm-up.
Yet if my athletes roll after their workout, it is done for the same length of time.
A foam roller is simply a cylindrical piece of extruded hard-celled foam.
Think swimming pool noodles, but a little denser and larger in diameter. And they usually come in one-foot or three-foot lengths.
Also, find the three-foot model works better, but it takes up more space.
Are Muscle Rollers Good?
12 Reasons to Use Exercise Foam Rollers
- Release Muscles
- Increase Flexibility by reducing Muscle Density
- Improves Mobility, e.g., Doing Drills
- The athlete feels more relaxed in Warmup.
- Reduces Injuries
- It’s cheap if you Can’t Afford a Massage
- Performance Enhancement in Competition
- Break up Scar Tissue
- Speed up Recovery between sessions
- Removes Lactic Acid
- Better Blood Circulation
- Reduces Stress
- 14 Muscle Roller Balls and Sticks that Get Knots out of muscles
- 5 Exercise Foam Rollers Exercises for Better Sleep
- How to Use Foam Rollers
How do I use a foam roller correctly?
Balls and foam rollers aid self-massage. Relax a stiff muscle. The pressure feels nice. Delicately slow. Pain reduction prevents harm. Massage the tension bands to the muscle attachments. Examine the tension.
Backrolling is fun. Legs up and down on the roller. Examine shoulders and traps. Turn the head to examine the suboccipital muscles.
Piriformis muscle strengthening helps sciatica. Sit with one side of your button, a ball, or a roller at a modest angle, crossing that ankle over the opposite knee to stretch and press the piriformis. Feel good.
Sit on the roller under the hamstrings and fold forward to balance and weight. Again, softly move up and down and roll the leg side to side to find tension.
For Facedown pushups place the roller under the quads. Hamstring-like motions.
These fundamentals should help. Self-massage is great since you know how you feel and can target trigger spots.
Is there any evidence that using exercise foam rollers is beneficial?
Your question is fascinating as I was also asking that myself when I started my fitness journey. Mainly I needed to answer another question, which was “How can I reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)? Here is the answer I find related to Benefice of Foam Rolling, with science in the back. I kept the links to the scientific reports so you can check them by yourself.
Healthcare professionals and trainers have long known about the exercise foam roller’s myriad benefits for physical therapy patients and elite athletes. Still, experts are just recently learning how valuable they can be for everyone else. Whether you’re looking to massage sore muscles or use the roller in an exercise routine, it can provide you with several health benefits. Called also fascia training, this practice is well-known among sports professionals.
Easy.. unlike some of those ridiculously complicated gym equipment items. Cheap.. compared to expensive ongoing visits with masseuses, physiotherapists, or myotherapists. An at-home and portable fitness solution in our increasingly busy lives. What’s not to like about the concept of foam rollers? It is yet another self-help option readily available to us in the popular and ever-growing self-help market.
exercise foam rollers
What are the foam rollers?
Exercise foam rollers are exercise devices used for massage and fitness. While usually long and cylindrical, they come in many shapes, sizes, and varying textures. When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas (known as “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is also called myofascial release.
Let’s present you with some examples. If you want more information on the different types of exercise foam rollers, you can check here:
Soft exercise Foam Rollers
Firm exercise Foam Rollers
Vibratory exercise Foam Rollers
exercise foam rollers
What is a Trigger Point?
Imagine your muscles as ropes. If a rope gets in a knot and you pull both ends, the knot gets tighter – You need to undo the knot with your hands instead to restore the original length and function of the rope. That’s what the exercise foam rollers do to your tight, knotted-up muscles – due to all of those workouts they’ve worked hard to get you through – that static stretching alone cannot.
Why is this important?
Foam rolling has been shown to improve long-term flexibility when it is performed regularly.
When your muscles are nice and pliable, they’re more likely to recover faster – so you’ll be less sore and can get back in the gym straight away, thereby quickening your fat-burning, muscle-building results. Better yet, by activating your muscles beforehand, you can give them a little kick start, which will boost your performance during your workout since you’ll amp mobility and get rid of any movement-inhibiting hot spots.
Take, for example, a basic squat. If your quads are super tight, you won’t be able to squat down to parallel, where you’ll get the max leg-toning benefits. By rolling ’em out pre-workout, you’ll be able to get the full range of motion and maximize the move’s sculpting powers.
Foam rolling is most recognized as a pre-and post-exercise prescription, but it’s also a wonderful workout tool. Yes, your body weight and exercise foam rollers can give you a full-body “workout,” but it will be more of a rehabilitation session than a sweat-inducing one.
On “regeneration” days, foam roll alone for 20–30 minutes.
Slower is better here. Focus on slowing your breathing and detecting if you’re holding your breath.
Instead, if you’re looking to take things up a notch, add vibration to the equation rather than speed. Look at this blog post describing the benefit of vibratory exercise foam rollers. Acquire Vibratory exercise Foam Rollers send high pulses of soft tissue mobilization through the body, enhancing the effects of foam rolling.
To test Vibratory exercise Foam Rollers, we recommend you the JOINFIT VIB. It is working with a battery and has 4-speed vibration. It will enhance the effect of standard foam rolling.
If you ask yourself, “Which exercise Foam Rollers should I get?” check this blog article.
How do I do it?
Here’s how to roll out six key areas of your body. Before your next workout, roll out just the muscles you plan to use. (So, your legs and glutes for a lower-body routine or your upper back, glutes, and hamstrings if you’re going to deadlift, for example.) Or, for a full-body recovery workout, tack more time onto each move (shoot for two minutes each) and move through them all one after the next. Remember, if it hurts, you’re doing it right!
Bear these tips in mind as you roll:
- Just Breathe. Not only does it activate a relaxation response, but it invites more oxygen and energy into the body needed for deep recovery.
- When you roll over adhesion or knot, pause, breathe, let the body’s weight rest on the exercise foam rollers, and allow the trigger point to dissipate.
- Remember to relax your jaw and any other places of tension in your body.
- As a progression, flex and extend the foam rolling muscle, creating a pulsing massage effect through the adhesion/knot.
- Place as much weight on the exercise foam rollers as you can tolerate without compensating for tension in another area of the body or impacting your slow-and-steady breathing pattern.
- Recommended protocol: 3-5 sets of 20-30 second repetitions.
- Recommended frequency: 3-5 times per week, performed consistently, to achieve and retain the long-term effects on flexibility.
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How fast should I Foam Roll?
First of all, you have to choose one. There are many categories, and you can learn more by reading this article: “Which Exercise Foam Rollers to Choose?”
According to some studies, foam rolling should be used for two specific reasons:
- To alleviate the side effects of active or latent trigger points.
- To influence the autonomic nervous system.
Exercise foam rollers can relieve trigger points by steadily rolling (approximately an inch per second) until a tender region is found.
When found, they apply direct pressure. Stimulating sensory receptors by pressing on the tender location for 25–90 seconds reduces trigger point activity.
Again, hypothalamic reflexes affect the autonomic nervous system by sustaining slow and controlled pressure. This lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and muscular tension while boosting blood flow and tissue mobility.
Slow-rolling, finding a sore point in the muscle, and applying continuous pressure until it “releases” are both correct ways to use exercise foam rollers. Relaxing and breathing while the roller is on a tender region makes this work.
One study has shown that foam rolling can benefit subsequent power, agility, strength, and speed when used together with dynamic preparatory movements.
Foam-rolling the lower back directly is NOT advised. It will likely cause the spinal muscles in this region to contract instead of protecting the spine, having the opposite effect on what you’re after.
According to a certified personal trainer, to release your lower back, try rolling the muscles that connect to it instead, including your glutes, hip flexors, and the muscles in your quads.
Check these infographics to see some examples.
For the next exercises, you can use a product similar to RAPTOR 30.
- Upper back – 30 Seconds
How to: Lie face-up on the ground with exercise foam rollers under your mid-back and your hands supporting your head. Lift your butt off the ground so that your weight is supported by your feet and the exercise foam rollers. Roll from the middle of your back to your shoulders.
- Glute Med – 30 Seconds Each
How to: Lie on your side with the exercise foam rollers under your hip and roll over the small lump of muscle between your hip and pelvis. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
- Glute Max – 30 Seconds Each
How to: Sit on the exercise foam rollers and shift your weight to one side. Roll from the top of the back of your thigh to your lower back. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
- Hamstrings – 30 Seconds Each
Place the foam rollers under the back of one thigh with the other foot flat on the ground. Keeping your back flat, lean forward into the stretch holding for 1-2 seconds. Relax, roll over the foam rollers, and repeat the stretch. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
- Quadriceps – 30 Seconds Each
Lie face down on the ground, supporting your weight on your forearms with a foam roll under one thigh and the other leg crossed at the ankles. Roll along with the quads from your hip to just above your knee. Spend more time rolling over any sore spots you find on the front, outside, and inside of the thigh. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
- Calves – 30 Seconds Each
Place the foam rollers under one calf with the other leg crossed over it. Please roll over the foam rollers, moving them up and down the length of the back of your low leg. Switch legs and repeat after 30 seconds.
eXERCISE FOAM ROLLERS
Are Exercise Foam Rollers more effective than stretching?
Traditionally, regular (“static”) stretching has been a cornerstone of a typical warm-up routine to increase flexibility. In recent years, however, this form of stretching has been shown to affect the subsequent workout by reducing force production, power output, running speed, reaction time, and strength endurance.
Foam rolling has increasingly been introducing warm-up routines as either an addition or a replacement to stretching. Unwanted effects on athletic performance are unlikely. One study has shown that foam rolling can benefit subsequent power, agility, strength, and speed when used together with dynamic preparatory movements.
Is there any risk in using Foam Rollers?
They are intended to be used over muscles only. Never roll over a bony joint. Applying pressure here could result in hyperextension of your joints. It’s good to get close to the joints’ attachment, but best not to go over them.
Avoid rolling your lower back, as it can create too much pressure on your vertebra, causing the muscles here to stiffen up to protect your lower back.
Don’t roll for too long. You don’t want to cause further inflammation by overdoing the rolling. Follow the above-mentioned program for the best results.
Can You Replace Foam Rollers With…
It’s easy to use one’s imagination and potentially find other round or cylindrical and firm items for roller-massaging, such as PVC piping and tennis balls. Using tennis balls for a foot massage is quite well-known!
However, the foam’s density and the shape of the roller make foam rollers preferable to these items. These substitutes haven’t been studied and may not produce the same results as the foam roller’s findings.
So let’s backtrack and understand the purpose of “foam rolling.” Foam Rolling is a hot term being thrown around in the fitness industry. Its origins are dated in a process called “self-myofascial release” (SMR). With this knowledge under our belts, we can begin to look at several different clinicians and practitioners that have utilized methods similar (but not quite SMR) to reduce hypertonicity (tightness) in muscles in patients (stroke victims, M.S., and polio particularly, beyond postural issues with the everyday person).
Anyway, to directly answer your question and to avoid some long, long answers:
http://www.fiteval.com/Site_1/Research_Study.html – The study shows the increased performance when comparing strength and power in traditional stretching vs. “foam rolling.”
http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592(08)00064-8/abstract – Although not SELF-myofascial release, it is a form of myofascial release that exhibits several positive benefits, including a reduction in pain, increased pulmonary function, pain levels decreasing, and posture improvement as well.
So that serves as our empirical evidence. Moving on to our anecdotal evidence…
Lots of my clients have expressed, “Wow, this is so uncomfortable.” Well, after they are done, they find that their ability to move has increased two-fold. Squatting deeper, lifting with less scar tissue and muscle restrictions, etc. It all leads back to how you began your sessions…
Among other things, it can serve as the precursor for warming up instead of stretching, followed by a dynamic warm-up, along with activation drills to get the most bang for your buck.
Conclusion on Foam Rollers
The current evidence for the use of foam rollers is as follows:
1) Foam rolling has been shown in several studies to increase joint flexibility for up to 10 minutes.
2) Foam rolling has been shown in several studies to have no negative effect on performance when used as part of a comprehensive warm-up program.
3) The research base suggests that during recovery, foam rolling reduces the sensation of delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).
The research base is growing, but there is still a lack of rigorous research.
Research is yet to answer the optimal reps, sets, and frequency of sessions.
We still don’t understand the exact mechanism of myofascial release and mechanoreceptor activation.
Foam rollers do, however, remain a mainstay of athletic warm-ups and recovery sessions.
Below is a selection of references from the evidence base:
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