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Foam Rollers Has Been Missing From Your Workouts

Foam Rollers Has Been Missing From Your Workouts


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Has your gym gotten one recently? It can be difficult to imagine what’s the hype about rolling about with what is essentially coloured cylinder. But until you’ve actually tried foam rolling, you won’t understand any of it. Read on as Tropika Club shares more about why you should start using a foam roller.

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What a foam roller can do

While it may take more time for the level of research and scientific evidence to reach a conclusive consensus, but small studies consistently show improvements in muscles flexibility with foam rolling. So, after you use a foam roller, you might feel less tight in your muscles, letting you work out more efficiently with better, and safer form. 

That might give you an extra edge if you’re planning to combine multiple workouts. In another 8-person study by the Journal of Athletic Training, there’s evidence showing that through foam rolling, there’s a reduction in delayed-onset muscle soreness – the pain and stiffness you feel the day you workout.  

How foam rollers help release muscle tension

There’s no definitive theory that explains the exact mechanisms of foam rolling yet. One leading theory as to how foam rolling can help ease muscle pain is the theory of myofascial release. Basically what that means is that it releases the tension in the fascia – a thin casing of connective tissues surrounding all of our organs, bones, blood vessels, nerve fibres, and muscles.

In our muscles, fascia exists in multiple layers, encasing each individual muscle fibre and muscle cells. It covers the entire muscle body as well. These layers of fascia not only gives our muscles its shape, but it’s also attached to our tendons and bones too, helping us move around, be it running or swimming.


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Ideally, the muscle fascia slides between your muscles like silk. But, on its own, the muscle fascia isn’t very flexible. And sometimes, due to various reasons such as muscle injury or inflammation, the muscle fascia binds to each other. It loses elasticity, which could be behind your sore muscles and your limited range of motion after a tough workout.

So, by foam rolling, you allow the muscle fascia to move and become more malleable. As you apply pressure to it, it separates and relaxes, becoming more flexible in the process.

In another theory, its possible that foam rolling changes the neurological mechanisms with the muscles, rather than providing myofascial release. So, as you use a foam roller on certain muscles, you’re applying direct pressure to those muscles, triggering the nerve receptors in the region. And, as you trigger the nerve receptors, you could be telling your brain to loosen the muscles in that region. 

When it hurts so good…

That’s how you get the ‘releasing’ sensation, the sort of pain that feels like you’re getting a deep tissue massage. But, and this is an important ‘but’, you shouldn’t assume that just because it hurts when you foam roll, it means its ‘working’. If you’re experiencing sharp pain that doesn’t improve after a few days, you should see a physical therapist or a doctor.

How to Start Foam Rolling

It’s pretty simple:

1. Start easy. Try first with light pressure.

2. If the sensation is too much for you, you can reduce the amount of bodyweight you’re placing on the foam roller. Say for when you’re rolling your hips, you can put more weight on your arms for support, so there’s less of your weight on your foam roller.

3. Once you’re used to it, you can add more weight and pressure on the foam roller.


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Where Not to Foam Roll

The rule you should follow is to only roll your muscles, not your ligaments or joints. So you should stick to rolling your lats, traps, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. 

As you’re rolling on your shoulder, be careful to only roll the meat of your shoulders lightly. Avoid rolling your lower back, otherwise, you might trigger the muscles surrounding the lower back to go in to spasm.

When to Foam Roll

For the best results, stick to foam rolling every day. It’s important to know that the effects of foam rolling tend to have a short lifespan. And while you should aim to foam roll before and after your workouts, you can just roll any time you want.

And as you foam roll, spend around half a minute on the targeted muscles you’re rolling. If you want to stay on the same spot for longer, you can do three sets of 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between each roll for your tight muscles.

To make sure you’re actually relieving muscle tension, divide the muscle you’re rolling into the top, middle, and bottom segments.  Roll on each section for a bit, then after you’re done roll the entire length of your muscle – to make sure your TLC get spread around evenly.

Which Foam Roller You Should be Getting

For the best results, stick to foam rolling every day. It’s important to know that the effects of foam rolling tend to have a short lifespan. And while you should aim to foam roll before and after your workouts, you can just roll any time you want.

  • Smooth roller: This is perfect for first-time foam rollers. Its surface has an even texture that gives you a more consistent experience as it relieves muscle soreness.
  • Textured rollers: They usually have knobs and ridges to help alleviate knots in your muscles, as well as the trigger points that a smooth roller can’t reach.

There are other kinds of equipment that works like a foam roller too. These can help you target the deeper muscle groups.

  • Foam massage balls: It targets specific muscle areas, such as the shoulders.
  • Foam-covered massage sticks: These are often used on your legs or your upper back.

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A curious wanderlust at heart, Benedict is always out to explore the world around him, and share his discoveries.