Foam rolling. Explaining the mystery.
The technical term is self-myofascial release although it's more commonly known as foam rolling. So, what is it and why we should we do it?
Very basically, it is self massage which releases the tightness in muscles or the knots which develop in muscles (trigger points). By applying pressure to specific areas of your body you can aid the recovery of sore, aching muscles and get them back to normal activity sooner.
After an activity, such as running, it is highly recommended to stretch out those muscles to get the flexibility back into them. However, stretching alone is sometimes not quite enough to do the trick and the use of a foam roller can get the blood flowing which will help aid the return of that muscle flexibility quicker.
It can be painful and uncomfortable at times when you foam roll, but it shouldn't be unbearable. After the rolling, the discomfort you'd felt in the muscles should ease.
If in any doubt though, always best to consult with either a doctor or physiotherapist before undertaking.
- Andrew Gordon