How To Make Foam Rolling Effective
Preface: I’m HUGELY pumped for this article to be released. This application has been in the work for months and I wanted to fully test it before sharing. Enjoy! – Joe
“I foam roll, but I’m not sure when or even why!”
I heard a frustrated trainer make this statement a few weeks back and it got me thinking. Despite writing the “Essential Guide To Foam Rolling” and providing a pre-workout foam rolling pdf (also in that link) I have not done a sufficient job in explaining anything post workout.
In the May edition of Men’s Health Magazine I stated that foam rolling could be used in conjunction with a static stretch to help restore proper muscle length. I’ll demonstrate that in the video below, but first let me go a bit more in depth on the benefits.
Why Post Workout Self Myofascial Release
Foam rolling is a version of self myofascial release (SMR) that is both practical and effective. A 2012 study gave lifters a 10 minute post workout massage, another group no massage, and tested tissue samples. The massage group had less of a protein called NF-kB, which plays a role in increasing muscle inflammation.
To qoute one of the study’s author’s “”What massage seems to do is …. reduces the inflammatory response as a function of the damage you incurred while you’re exercising” (Simon Melov).
Removing the inflammation will help the muscles recover at a faster rate and prepare you for the next training session.
Unfortunately there is a catch….practicality. Not all of us can run out and pay for a massage therapist to give a post workout rub down. Fortunately we have a few tools we can use to make this work for the average lifter: Enter The Post Workout Foam Rolling!
How to Best Use Post Workout SMR
Don’t hop on that roller just yet, I have another complementary technique that will greatly increase the efficiency of your post workout rolling.
In conversations with a local and respected sports physical therapist, we were discussing SMR and stretching techniques. In conjunction, we developed a simple pattern of rolling and stretching that will both reduce inflammation (as explained above) and return our muscles to their proper length.
Here’s the concept: Foam Roll (or other SMR technique) one specific muscle. Follow it immediately by a 30-60 second static stretch. Don’t cheat the stretch time.
The foam rolling both massages the muscle and aids in tissue quality. The stretch will aid in proper muscle length (and effecient function if done properly.
It is important to do these back to back to get maximum benefits.
Post Workout SMR Explained Video
Simple enough? Start preparing some combos in your mind!
Which Foam Roller To Buy
The foam roller is pretty basic, and despite owning nearly every variety (rumble rollers, trigger point, etc) I still recommend the basic high density roller. You can search around and find the cheapest, however I recommend the longer rollers.
Here’s the ones I bought for the gym (cheap and with free shipping…I love Amazon!):
Want Part II?
I’m considering putting together another PDF and second video that will show my favorite pairings and provide a free print out guide for you.
Being slammed with clients at the Synergy gym, I need to make sure enough people would find this information helpful. Please “LIKE” the video and SHARE THIS POST.
100 likes and 50 shares will let me know people want more.
Thanks and enjoy!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS -
PS. Want the complete “feel better train better guide?” You may be interested in Powerful Muscle Recovery.