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What Is Foam Rolling? Everything You Ever Wanted to Know and More

At Peak Physique, we live by foam rolling and can’t help but recommend it to everyone we meet. You can do it before or after a workout, or even on days you feel stressed out and need to relieve tension.

Learn what is foam rolling, why it’s right for you, and how to can get started!

What Is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling is a fantastic form of self-massage that helps you reduce tightness or pain points in your muscles. Foam rolling uses a foam roller, a lightweight cylinder made with compacted foam to withstand body weight. The rigid foam makes it easy to relieve pressure and tension in specific parts of your body.

We think of it as a personal deep-tissue massage in the areas that bother you the most!

Benefits of Foam Rolling

Many benefits will make you want to start foam rolling today!

Relieves Tension

The biggest thing foam rolling does is relieve tension and improve your range of motion because of how foam rolling works with your nervous system. When you foam roll, you stimulate pain receptors in your fascia, that’s the connective tissue that surrounds everything in your body. 

Foam rolling is basically telling your nervous system to calm down when it tightens. It also just feels really good.

Pain Reduces Pain

We’re not going to lie and say foam rolling doesn’t cause any pain. Again, think of a deep tissue massage. It feels good, but there still is a pain aspect to it.

Foam rolling induces the phenomenon of DNIC (diffuse noxious inhibitory control), where you rub the painful area, and it hurts but feels better afterward. It’ll hurt at first, but when it’s done, you will feel better!

Improves Body Awareness

When you foam roll, you’ll notice how aware you are of your body and how it moves through space. If your calf hurts, and you roll it out, you’re going to become more aware of what those muscles feel like when you work them.

In turn, this will help you improve your body awareness while performing exercises to achieve better results.

Decreases Workout Recovery Time

When you get into a good routine with foam rolling, it can help reduce recovery time after workouts. It also helps prevent muscle soreness after you’re done exercising.

This helps you get back into the gym faster and lead a more pain-free life.

How to Start Foam Rolling

Now that you know what foam rolling is and what its benefits are, it’s time to learn how to get started with foam rolling!

Find the Right Foam Roller

There are a variety of foam rollers for you to choose from that it can become overwhelming trying to find the best one. It’s best to first look at their density, and decide if you want it to be soft, medium, or very firm. If you get deep tissue massages and ask them to go hard, you can start with firm, otherwise, start at a softer level and work your way up.

Next, you’ll want to decide how long you want it, depending on the part of your body you’re trying to work. We recommend getting a longer one if you’re just starting, so it’s easier to control, and you can get your entire back. If you’re going for arms or calves, you can opt for a shorter one.

Then, you’ll want to look at their diameter and decide how big you want your foam roller to be. If you struggle with balance, go for the smaller diameter ones to balance better. 

If you’re still unsure of the right foam roller, buy a pack of different types, and see which works best for you!

Choose Your Body Part, and Start

Now that you have your foam rollers, it’s time for you to choose a part of your body to start working. Let’s take calves as our example. Take the foam roller, place it under your calves, and start applying your body weight to it slowly. 

While on the roller, pause and focus on tight or slightly painful spots. As you work on those spots, you should feel them begin to release. If it’s too painful to go directly on those spots, work the areas around it first to loosen everything up.

Rest the Next Day

Especially if it’s your first-time foam rolling and you feel pain, it’s essential to rest the next day and always drink plenty of water. Your muscles will be sore depending on how often you do this, and work out, so be sure to take it easy and allow your body to heal.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

When foam rolling, don’t just roll up and down. Be sure you’re moving the roller, and you work the muscles in many directions. You should also roll more than one muscle in a session.

While foam rolling is great, you don’t want to roll above and below your lower back. And you don’t want to roll directly on your lower back, neck, or other joints. You want to work the muscles around those areas instead.

Be mindful that foam rolling isn’t a race. Take your time and slowly work through your muscles.

Start Foam Rolling Today

Now that you know what is foam rolling, the benefits, and how to get started, it’s time for you to try it today! Remember to start slow and focus on the areas causing you the most pain first.

Are you ready to get more out of your workouts or learn how to start foam rolling with a professional? Contact Peak Physique today! We’re committed to helping you lead a better life through exercise and personal training!

Lissa Pietrykowski

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