Foam Rolling 101: How Does It Help You
What is myofascial release?
Myofascial Release (MFR) and Self Myofascial Release (SMFR) is a longstanding pillar of muscle recovery. Stripping it down to the basics, MFR is a gentle and sustained pressure applied to points of restriction, allowing the connective tissue to relax. This can be done by yourself or by a massage therapist or physical therapist.
When overworked or stressed due to injury, our bodies react by creating a protection response. This can lead to a buildup of lactic acid and toxins and can also reduce blood flow to the area. When this happens, knots can be common leading to increased muscle tightness and strains. Without proper muscle recovery it can be a slippery slope. Taking the right steps before and after workouts is important to prevent even worse injuries like strains and tears.
3 benefits to rolling out
- Reduce soreness – during a difficult workout or long run, your body produces lactic acid. If lactic acid stays built up in your muscles it can make you sore one or even two days after your workout. Rolling out after any workout will break down the lactic acid buildout and flush out your muscles helping your body recover and repair.
- Injury prevention! If you don’t help your body recover after workouts it’s likely something will be sore or tight. The next time workout it’s likely your body will start compensating for whatever body part isn’t fully recovered. MFR can help ensure every muscle group is ready to go and that you won’t be battered by the end of the week’s workouts.
- Higher quality workouts – MFR isn’t just for post-workout recovery and cooldown. It is just as critical of a practice before you work out or head for the trails. Rolling out larger muscle groups like your quads, IT bands and glutes can help ensure your muscles are warm before you jump into a workout. It can also calm muscles down and keep them from overworking, also preventing injury during a workout.
Rolling on the go
One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of proper recovery is convenience. If you finish a long run outside you might be able to get in a quick stretch but not many people will get a foam roller out and get on the ground to roll out. Getting back in the car just causes muscles to tighten up even more. Make sure you get a tool that is easy and convenient so you don’t have excuses not to roll out before and after.If you travel for work or travel often for races and competitions, don’t sacrifice your recovery on the go. When you don’t have access to your gym or home foam roller, have a convenient tool that fits in a backpack or carry on so you never have to worry.