So about 2 years ago I bought myself a super cheap foam roller on eBay and totally fell in love with it. Mr Chick hates it and refuses to use it, because it hurts, but I think it’s a GOOD pain and without my foam roller I’d probably be incapable of moving most days.
For quite a while I’d been keen to upgrade my old plain foam roller to one of those exciting looking spiky ones, because I am a glutton for punishment, and recently Pure Power Products sent me one of their Power Rollers to try out.
The advantage of the lumps and bumps over the regular smooth roller I was using before are that you can adjust the intensity of the roll. The smoother areas are less intense, but move slightly to one side and the closer together bumps of the grid areas are like fingers really digging into release your muscles.
I thought I would share a few tips and bits of advice I picked up on foam rolling, but please bear in mind I am not a medical professional you should seek advice if you are unsure!
But why should you foam roll in the first place?
Foam rolling is also called self myofasical release, and it’s basically a self help version of what you could expect from a sports massage therapist. It loosens up knots in the muscles and helps restore normal movement.
Over the Summer I saw a massage therapist a couple of times for my back problems and he heartily recommended foam rolling for sore muscles.
When you foam roll you basically slowly move the roller over your body, using bodyweight to apply pressure. When you find a tight or sore spot you can “hover” and wait there, focusing on it for a few more seconds, which really helps loosen up the muscles.
Foam rolling also helps increase blood flow, assisting with the removal of waste products, and, theoretically, less muscle soreness.
When I first bought my foam roller I used it mostly after exercise to help with soreness, but it’s also really excellent to use before exercise to help loosen up tight muscles.
How is it different from stretching?
When you stretch a muscle it doesn’t help loosen up knots and tight spots. Imagine that you have an elastic band with a knot tied in it and you stretch it, the elastic band will get longer, but that knot will stay there, impairing the movement of the band. Using a foam roller on knots in your muscles can help break them down and make your muscles more flexible and less prone to injury.
How to use a foam roller
There’s no secret trick to using a foam roller, though there are techniques for rolling specific areas and the Power Roller comes with a handy free e-book of advice.
When you foam roll you apply moderate pressure to your muscles using your bodyweight to lie on the roller. Move slowly, about an inch a second, and pause when you find a tight or painful area until you feel it start to release and relax. If it’s far too painful you can work on the areas around it by shifting side to side, and using the power roller you can alter the intensity by using the smooth or lumpy areas.
Never roll over joints of bones, stick to the soft tissue and you can’t go too far wrong.
You can buy Pure Power Roller on Amazon, currently reduced to £18.47