Do you feel like it takes forever to recover after a workout? Perhaps you keep getting little niggles that you’ve just learnt to deal with? Or maybe you always feel tight in certain areas and can’t seem to free yourself up? What if I told you I may have the solution to all of your problems and it comes in the form of a tube made from foam? That’s right – its foam rolling and it is one thing that we could ALL do a lot more of!
Foam rolling is a form of ‘myofascial release’. Myofascia simply means the fascia (white connective tissue you find surrounding cuts of meat) surrounding or separating the ‘myo’ (muscle). Fascia is a web-like material that weaves itself around every structure in your body. Where there’s a greater need for load – your body lays down more fascia, (i.e. fascia increases its density in response to increased loads and stresses). So – when you weight train and place increased loads on your muscles, the fascia builds and tightens up around those particular areas. It is this tightening up that could be causing your injuries, niggles and ongoing muscle soreness.
As the fascia builds up around your muscles, your muscles have less space to move which means that blood and nutrients can’t move as freely through the gaps. Without access to adequate amounts of blood and nutrients, your muscles become dehydrated and unable to function as effectively as otherwise would be the case. What may feel like a ‘knot’, ‘niggle’ or ‘trigger point’ in your body is actually a dehydrated muscle that is severely lacking in nutrients. How can you go about fixing this you ask?
FOAM ROLL! Foam rolling breaks up the connective tissue in the areas in which your muscles are placed under repetitive load. This breaks down the fascia and allows for the free movement of blood and nutrients to the muscle – thereby allowing it to rehydrate and function optimally. Not only will this help you recover faster after sessions, but it will also reduce your chances of injury, eliminate those little ‘niggles’ and help you get so much more out of each training session.
Foam rolling is highly underrated and often ignored or done too hastily because it’s boring, takes too long or is just too painful. However, it is one of the best things you can do for your body and will put you in the position to be able to perform at your peak. So go on, take the little extra time to foam roll on a daily basis. Your body and your performance levels will benefit hugely from it!