Early in my running ‘career’ I neglected recovery. I was always a fan of the static stretched that I was taught in high school. Mainly because they were easy and passive, but also because like every human; its what I was taught.
What I have found in recent years though, is that there is more to recovery than just stretching. Foam rolling (also called myofascial release) is not just sopme hoighty thing people do in posh fitness clubs or on television (although ironically I have a #Runtastic Youtube video on the bottom of this post.) Foam Rolling is designed to work out the “knots” in your muscles.
You could compare the practice to self-massage. For the technical person that I assume you are, the ‘proper’ term for “knots” are trigger points or myofascial adhesions.
Fascia is a form of connective tissue that wraps and bundles muscles (myo) together. Myofascial adhesions can develop through stress, training, overuse, underuse, movement imbalances and injuries.
They are essentially points of constant tension and addressing them can have a positive effect on your workouts. Ignoring them can lead to further dysfunction and may perpetuate and/or cause injury.
When to Perform
Foam rolling can be performed prior to and after your workouts. When applying prior to your workout, only focus on problematic areas. Remember, foam rolling is designed to reduce tension and relax a muscle. Doing this to a healthy muscle may relax it to the point of being less effective during your workout. But for muscles that carry excessive tension, spending time on the front end of training can help reduce poor and imbalanced movements during your workout. Post-workout rolling can focus on all of major muscles worked, with an extra emphasis on the areas that appear problematic.
Foam rolling is one strategy that can help improve symmetry in the body. By taking a few minutes during each workout (and each day if necessary) to work out adhesions, you can help prepare for, and recover from, exercise more effectively. Tension can be released from the area, while blood flow and nutrients can increase, leading to healthier muscle tissue and a more effective fitness program.
Adapted from https://www.acefitness.org/
Let the showdown begin:
|The Foam Roller
|Uses body weight for pressure
||Uses hands to push stick into muscle
|Good for holding over trigger points
||Good for rolling across muscle
|Comes in different firmnesses
||Comes in different lengths
|Good for use at home or gym
||Good for travel or portable use