When performing at max effort during any intense lifting or cardio session, the muscles has the ability to produce 100% output depending on how hard you push yourself. Then the next day and days following comes the dreaded ‘enjoyable’ pain and ache of those muscles targeted. Trying to get off the toilet seat or reach for that cup at the top of the cupboard always seems like a mission on its own!
This is where foam rolling can really benefit you, not only by relieving those tired aching muscles but to help with recovery and mobility.
Why foam roll?
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release or self massage, basically an affordable deep tissue massage. Just after your training, your muscles go through a process of breakdown and repair and the connective tissue around them starts to thicken and shorten, really to protect the muscle from damage – this is the tightness you feel after every workout.
Foam rolling allows you to work out certain areas that are sore or feel ‘tight’ and helps to break up certain adhesions or damaged tissue within the muscle to help promote recovery and better mobility. Foam rollers come in many looks with different lumps and bumps but they all basically do the same job as long as they are structured well enough to hold your weight whilst rolling and to give you that needed deep tissue massage to workout those knots.
Foam rolling different muscle areas
Different muscle groups can be targeted individually giving you a full deep tissue massage and getting you back on the road to recovery and in turn being able to train more and more effectively.
- Foam rolling for hamstrings
Sit on the floor with you hands slightly behind you, place the foam roller under your leg (behind the knee). Lift yourself up with your hands and roll your leg forward whilst applying the weight of yourself onto that specific leg until you reach just short of your hip. Repeat this process of forward and back on each leg for around 30 seconds.
- Foam rolling for calves
Same again, sit on the floor with hands slightly behind you, place the foam roller at your ankle. Distribute your weight onto that leg and lift your hips off the ground and roll your calf forward and back until it reaches the knee. Roll your calves out for around 30 seconds again and repeat on the other leg.
- Foam rolling for abs
Lay face down on the floor with the foam roller under your abs. Place your forearms out just short of shoulder width and extend your legs out whilst keeping your toes touching the floor. Try to focus your weight onto the abs, tip toe forward and pull with the forearms rolling out the abs until you reach the diaphragm, then push with the forearms to roll back again. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Foam rolling for quads
Place the foam roller on the floor and lay your leg over the top of it facing the floor (just below the hip). Lift your head up whilst extending your arms and legs. Then slowly roll your hips forward to work out the quad from the hip down to just before the knee.
Make sure when rolling out each muscle group that your perform each movement in a slow motion. There is no doubt that it will feel uneasy or slightly uncomfortable but this exactly what you want! This soreness is the muscle being massaged and releasing those adhesions and working out the knots. By doing this you will be creating a better blood flow into the muscles and allow them to relax and stretch so that recovery can properly begin.
Best foam rollers to buy
Foam rollers usually come in 2 different lengths, full length and 1/2 sized length. The full length rollers are very good for when your just lazing around the house and catching up on your latest box set. Simply perform your foam rolling in front of the TV.
The 1/2 sized lengths are very good to put into your gym bag and take as you go. When finishing up after your WOD, take 5 minutes to perform some foam rolling for your cool down.
Here are some of the best foam rollers available that will give you that deep muscle massage:
Improving mobility improves performance
Foam rolling is an essential component within Crossfit and with any intense training for that matter. By incorporating this into your warm up and cool down, I promise it will allow you to feel fewer aches and pains, allowing you to get back training quicker but also improve your mobility during any heavy lifting. Staying flexible and nimble will help you not just in the short term with regard to your training but even for years to come. I would say the foam roller is more of a health tool than a training tool as it promotes wellness and helps to keep the muscles supple.
Any questions about foam rolling, simply drop me a comment below