If you’ve ever been in a gym, sporting goods store or even browsing through the fitness section on Amazon, you’ve probably seen a foam roller. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, or self-massage, that helps sore muscles and gets rid of adhesions in connective tissue. There are a lot of benefits to foam rolling, but if done wrong it can lead to slower recovery or even further injury. To prevent terrible things happening to you when you are foam rolling, here are a few tips on how to avoid foam rolling mistakes:
Don’t Roll Directly Where You Are in Pain
Usually when someone is in pain they tend to focus on treating that area directly. People will tend to foam roll on the area of the body in pain with hopes to recover faster. For those under that assumption, they will actually experience more pain due to increased inflammation. This is because they are stressing the body out when it’s trying to recover. To fix this mistake, it is best to indirectly work on the pain by rolling on the area outside of the problem area. You can then directly work into the injured area as you slowly roll into it. This causes less stress on the body and will increase the recovery period.
Don’t Roll Too Fast
Some people tend to foam roll too fast. While it might feel great to roll back and forth on a foam roller quickly, you’re not actually eliminating any adhesions that way. You need to allow enough time for the brain to tell your muscles to relax. By rolling too quickly, it will make your muscles tense up and end up hurting you more. It is best to slow your roll and allow for those superficial layers and muscles to have time to adapt and manage the compression.
Don’t Roll in the Wrong Position
When foam rolling, you must hold your body in certain positions over the roller for it to be most effective. Foam rolling improperly and in a bad position requires a lot more strength and may overexert certain muscles. This will cause you harm and will lead to a lot more pain than the original pain you were in. To fix this mistake it is good to begin working with a personal trainer, physical therapist or someone with prior knowledge of how to properly use a foam roller. They can teach you the proper positioning of how to foam roll so you do not injure yourself.
To be better at foam rolling and avoid foam rolling mistakes it is great to not to roll directly on the pain, roll slowly, and seek professional help to learn proper positioning. Please consult your trainer if you think foam rolling is right for you.
For more information on foam rolling mistakes, click here.
Article written by William Graves.