ROLL IT OUT
10 September 2017
Most runners are familiar with foam rollers, but few really understand the benefits it can provide them and their running performances. Here’s why it should become part of your running accessories.
Article Keywordsfoam rolling
It is a well-known fact that when we run, we break down muscle fibers. A process then follows where muscles adapt to increased workloads and rebuild stronger. In the process fascia, or better known as the protective tissue that covers your muscles, is weakened. When the fascia repairs itself and grows back together it forms a knot above your muscle tissue, which can limit muscle mobility.
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) therapy that applies pressure to muscles, fascia and trigger points, and that will help to flatten out these knots. It helps to stretch and loosen overactive muscles. Simply put, it is like undergoing a deep massage.
1. Increases mobility and flexibility - Most runners are incredibly inflexible due to the demand that the continuous motion and impact places on their muscle fibers. Using a foam roller combined with some stretching can noticeably increase your flexibility in about 8 weeks.
2. Reduces recovery time - A brief rolling session of as little as 10 minutes immediately after your run, can reduce the build-up of lactic acid in your muscle fibers, meaning you can avoid being sore for days after a tough run.
3. Prevent further injury - By keeping the mobility of the muscles in tip top condition you can prevent further injury.
How to use a foam roller
1. You can use a foam roller pre- and post training. Rolling pre-training will help to release tension in muscles; increase blood flow and release neurotransmitters, which might help to combat fatigue.
2. The most common areas to foam roll include the hamstrings, calves, quads and illiotibial band. It is wise to also roll out the upper back and shoulders.
3. It might be painful at first, but you do get used to it after a few sessions. If it is very painful, rather see a professional.
4. If you are new to foam rolling, start by using a softer roller and at first get some advice on how to roll correctly.
5. Spend 30-60 seconds on each area and work your way from the area of pain to the connecting muscles. Start with one 10-minute foam rolling session after your run.
6. Roll over the muscle group until you find a knot or trigger point. Use your bodyweight to hold pressure on that point for 30 seconds. This pressure helps to break down the knots.
7. Try to roll 10-15 minutes a day and on your rest days a bit longer.
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