The Piece You’re Missing Of Your Workout/Self-Care Routine
Written by: Kavata Kithome
Imagine for a moment that your body is at its highest peak.
Your muscles are flexible with no tightness and you feel magnificent. Let the feeling wash all over your body.
Now, what if I told you that you can experience this by foam rolling? Would you be interested? I hope so!
What Is Foam Rolling?
Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release in which pressure is applied to certain body parts to relieve pain. Simply put, it is a fancy term for self-massage to release and relieve muscle tightness or trigger points.
I have to be honest, I didn’t know much about foam rolling until I began my transformation. I remember the first time my coach mentioned it, the look on my face was priceless. It sounded like something I possibly knew about, but in fact, didn’t.
For a long time this technique was used by pro athletes, coaches and therapists, but now it is as familiar as yoga or step aerobics and is practiced by people at all levels of fitness.
Why Choose Foam Rolling?
Aside from how easy it can be on your wallet, it is a method that can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, theracane or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function – muscles that are elastic, healthy and on the ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
During my transformation, I used foam rolling as a way to self-care. My coach can tell you that I had the worse relationship with food and exercise. When I began my transformation, I was doing beachbody insanity and had done damage to my muscles and they were severely inflamed. My coach advised me against insanity, especially while doing my transformation. Therefore, foam rolling became my go-to for healing and restoration.
Foam rolling works because deep compression helps break up and relax tight muscles and adhesions formed between muscle layers and their surroundings. As you know, muscles that are not taken care of properly cause you to experience loss of flexibility, adhesions and painful movement.
Now that I have peaked your interest in foam rolling, I would like to share HOW to foam roll and how to IDENTIFY what areas to foam roll. The areas to focus on can be identified in two ways.
1. Through screenings such as squat screening or hip hinge screening.
If you have trouble with either movement, foam rolling is a great way to recovery by targeting specific areas or muscle groups that relate to the movement you are focusing on. If after foam rolling you feel better and your movement improves, you have a more specific strategy to follow.
2. Trigger points and tight muscles can be found through self-exploration.
This can be done by applying moderate pressure to specific muscles, or muscle groups, using the roller and body weight. Move slowly and no more than an inch per second. Once you find the tight painful areas, stop and try to relax as much as possible; this will help the muscles release and lessen the discomfort and pain.
Note: if the area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area and slowly work to loosen to entire area. Keep in mind that the aim is to restore your muscles.
Here are some DON’Ts when foam rolling:
1. Roll on a joint or bone
2. Roll directly where you feel pain
3. Roll too fast
4. Spend too much time on the trigger points (knots)
5. Have bad posture while rolling
6. Use the foam roller on your lower back
I want to take a moment to discuss the bad posture – it is important to hold your body in a certain position over the roller. You may exacerbate your pre-existing issues and cause more harm if you don’t pay attention to your posture. If you are unsure, work with an experienced personal trainer, physical therapist, or coach, then record yourself while rolling so that you can see what you are doing right or wrong such as sagging hips or contorting the spine. This will help you fix them.
What Happens Afterwards?
The only thing that remains is what happens after foam rolling? You may be sore the next day. The keep here is not to push yourself to the point of excessive soreness. Your muscles will and should feel worked, relaxed and released.
It is important to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and eat nutrient dense foods to help flush toxins and fuel your muscles more effectively. Also allow 24-48 hours of rest before focusing on rolling the same area again.
Foam rolling is a great way to help mend and restore your muscles. It is important to understand the origin of your pain before you start and that in order to see some results, it is important to stick with YOU.
Have you foam rolled before? Did you see any benefits after foam rolling? Share your experience in the comments below.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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