Foam rollers can be be found in every gym and most studios, but are too often forgotten or dismissed as a stretching prop solely for folks recovering from injury. Big mistake! Foam rollers can elevate everyone’s fitness game by preparing muscles for work, improving blood flow and alleviating soreness. These simple props are essential to everyone’s fitness journey so today we break down everything you need to know.
FOAM ROLLERS 101
- What is a foam roller good for? Helps correct existing muscle imbalances, reduce inflamed trigger points (knots within muscle) and inhibit overactive muscles that can cause your form to suffer. Essentially, foam rolling makes your body feel a lot better, subsequently allowing you to push harder in your next workout.
- Who should foam roll? Everyone! No matter your fitness level, preparing for a workout and/or devoting time to release muscle tension with some rolling will make your workouts more effective and enjoyable. Because you are the one controlling the amount of pressure being exerted onto your limbs, so you can be fully involved with your bodywork and responses in a way that no one else could. This all means that foam rolling is a good bet for anyone who experiences a tender or tight body due to intense workouts, long work hours, stress, injury, or some combination of all those plus more.
- When to foam roll – It can be done before or after workouts; in an ideal world you’d do at least 5 minutes of foam rolling before a workout.
- How much does it cost? Our favorite comes in under $20 on Amazon. There are a lot of different brands and types of foam rollers on the market these days but we’re happy with the basic 36″ High-Density Round Foam Roller pictured here. Although it’s longer than other options, I prefer the 36″ option because I use the roller a lot on my back and like the smoothness.
- How do you use a Foam Rollers? Moving very slowly, and avoiding your joints, balance your bodyweight onto the roller and adjust the level of pressure exerting onto your target muscle group by resting more or less weight into your hands. Once you hit a really spicy spot on your body, try to hold yourself there for up to 45 seconds. So long as you avoid your neck, lower back and joints, you can pretty much roller any muscular body area.
- How much do you have to use it to get results? My body feels best when I can work in 3 genuine foam rolling sessions per week. In total that probably amounts to 20 minutes, which is a small price to pay for the way it helps my IT band (outer knee / thigh) release. If you want to get hardcore about it, search your area for the “Foam Roller” classes that are gaining a lot of popularity.
- What’s the FIT tip? Keep your foam roller near your television so you can make the most of your TV time. Aim to spend 1 or 2 commercials (30-60 seconds) on each body part that needs some TLC.
(Images by Andrea Posadas for HonestlyFIT)