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Foam Roll to Eliminate Muscle and Joint Pain

If I told you to foam roll before every workout, would you have any idea what I was talking about? Even though almost every gym you walk into these days has foam rollers, most people have no idea what they are used for or how to use them properly.


A foam roller, put simply, is a cylindrical piece of foam 1.5 to 3 feet long that is used primarily for self-soft tissue mobilization and myofascial release - the concept of breaking up areas of scar tissue that develop in muscle fascia. The advantage to a foam roller is that you can get some of the same benefits of massage therapy on your own without the big price tag or the hassle of making an appointment every week.


How does it work and how do you use it?


Foam rolling stems directly from the same concept of massage and active release therapy: by applying sustained pressure to the tissue one can release fascia and break down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles, and bones. This scar tissue that develops in muscle fascia, if left untreated, can cause joint pain, muscle soreness and/or stiffness.


To use a foam roller is rather simple - use your bodyweight to apply pressure to commonly tight or sore muscles. Long muscle groups like the calves, groins, hamstrings, and quadriceps can all be targeted with long, sweeping strokes while small muscle groups like the hip rotators, and the glute medius require more guided force. Never go too fast over the area you are treating; if you feel pain or discomfort, leave the roller there as this will help break up that tissue.


Foam Rollers vs. Massage


Any good fitness professional or strength coach will tell you that massage by hand is superior to a foam roller. A good massage therapist should be able to actually feel the areas of tightness and adhesion while working on an athlete and they should also be able to key on specific trigger points as well. Still, foam rollers are a great tool to have on-the-go and only cost about $20.


Foam Rollers could also make a great holiday gift this year!


Stay Active, Stay Fit!

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