Introduction to Foam Rolling – What is it and Why is it important?
We at NPT HealthWorks help active individuals live a balanced, healthy, and mobile life in order to function at a high level with improved ease, less medication, and fewer doctor visits and surgeries. In order to do that, we take pride in educating individuals in our world to know how to implement self care in their lives. One of my personal favorite self-care items is the foam roller and I want to share with you why.
Foam rollers are cheap and effective self myofascial release tools that are designed in many shapes, sizes, textures, and levels of firmness. Basically a one time fee to provide yourself unlimited deep tissue massages. Generally the larger foam rollers can be more effective for the lower body and the smaller foam rollers (or lacrosse balls) can be better used for the upper body. There is little to no evidence suggesting a more smooth foam roller is more beneficial than one with ridges or a more firm one is better than one with less density. It really comes down to personal preference and what you can tolerate to perform the task. The intention of the foam roller is to break down muscle “knots” or trigger points that ultimately reduces soft tissue density in an injured muscle while increasing range of motion. It’s able to accomplish that by increasing blood flow, reducing edema, eliminating lactate and delivering oxygen to the targeted muscle.
- Frequency: 2-3x/week (give 24-48 hours in between sessions)
- Intensity: Low to Moderate (it should feel tender/sore but not painful!)
- Time: 5-10 minutes per targeted muscle group
Here are two quick videos of my favorite areas to foam roll that most individuals can benefit from. If you have any questions or comments regarding foam rolling, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upper Body: Rotator Cuff
Lower Body: Quadriceps/ITB