Foam roller can be a great tool for injury prevention, but the misuse can cause you more pain and more injury. Find the secret of using it in a right way.
What is Foam Roller?
Foam rolling is a technique for self-stretching, it unties your muscle knots by breaking adhesions and it can help in healing injured tissues. It prepares your body for the stress of exercise when doing before workout. Performing foam rolling after workout relives aches and prevents injury.
You need to be aware that using the foam roller can feel uncomfortable at first, even painful, but the more you use it, the pain and discomfort will be less.
When to use it?
- Before the workout as warm up
- After the workout as stretching
Foam roller you can use as warm up before exercise. You are preparing your muscles and ligaments for stress. Few minutes is enough.
After workout foam rolling as a stretching is great for injury prevention. A few minutes after a workout is fine.
The best foam rolling techniques
- Upper back
- Middle and Lower back
- Inner leg and groin
- IT band
There are different ways you can use the foam roller for your upper back. In this video, you can check 7 ways to foam roll your upper back.
Rolling your calves can be tricky because they are small muscles. In the video you can check the best way for the foam roll your calves.
Inner leg and groin
It is important to stretch this usually ignored area of your legs. Watch the video about foam rolling the inner leg or groin.
IT band syndrome is a common injury caused by running, cycling, hiking and weightlifting. Check in this video how to properly roll this area to prevent the injury.
I often had the problems with hamstrings, but after using foam rollers my problems are over. Check this video how to properly foam roll your hamstrings.
Quads are large muscle usually affected by running and squats. Foam rolling of quads is very useful for recovery after these exercises. In the video watch, how to foam roll your quads.
The best way to use the foam roller for your glutes check in this video.
I have rarely seen people using rollers on your lats. Here you can check video how to stretch these important muscles too.
Learn how to safely perform self-massage of your chest muscles, from armpit to the inner chest.
The biggest foam rolling mistakes
- Directly rolling injured areas
- Rolling to fast
- Using roller that is too firm from the start
- Spending too much time on the same spot
- Bad posture
- Improper rolling on lower back
- Improper rolling over IT band
- Rolling over the knee
Directly rolling injured areas
Directly rolling areas that hurt and what are injured might be a big mistake. Big pressure on problematic areas can increase inflammation and will even slow down natural recovery.
Don’t go directly on sensitive spots, it is much better to roll a few inches close to the area. Take time and when the sensitive spot area recovers, then you could use larger rolling motions.
Rolling to fast
Moving the foam roller to fast back and forth is not eliminating adhesion and inflammation. It could make you feel great, but it doesn’t help.
Do the foam rolling slower so that all tissues of muscles can adopt to the compression. Especially be careful over tender spots where you need to use slow, short and gentle rolls.
Spending too much time on the same spot
If you spend too much time on one spot, especially if it is sensitive knot can damage the issue. Particularly if you use big force for a long time in one spot.
Spend about 10 to 20 seconds on the same spot. The whole foam rolling daily procedure shouldn’t be longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
It is important to have proper posture when you use the foam roller. Doing the rolling in a wrong way can cause you more problems.
Check the videos I have posted in this article. You can find proper postures and techniques.
Improper rolling on lower back
Rolling directly over your spine can be dangerous for your spine.
I don’t advise using the foam roller on your lower back. You could cause more problems than benefits. If you have constant problems with your lower back, it is much better to consult the expert.
Improper rolling over IT band
Putting a big pressure on your IT band and compress it over femur bone can cause you big pain. There is no benefit of this, you are only smashing the muscle against bone.
Don’t put too much pressure over your IT band. Use other leg and hands to control the pressure. Please watch the video I posted in this article to learn the right motion and position.
Rolling over the knee
The biggest mistake is when you are using the foam roller over your quad and go over your knee. Foam rolling your knee can crush your knee cap.
Always pay attention when you are rolling so you don’t go with the foam roller over dangerous areas like knee cap.