Every fitness enthusiast knows, or should know, that it’s just as important to stretch, rest and recover in order to minimize injuries and maximize performance. One of the best ways to do that is through myofascial release. If you’re not familiar with this fancy phrase, it’s more commonly known as foam rolling. And if you have never tried it, you should.
What is Foam Rolling?
Your body is made up of fascia—connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and joint capsules. When you exercise, whether it’s cardiovascular training or strength training, these tissues respond to the force and tension that is placed upon them. The result of all this tension, however, is often strain which can hinder your performance and sometimes lead to injuries. Foam rolling, rolling your muscles over a cylindrical-shaped object usually made from dense foam, is a great way to get all the knots and tightness out of your muscles.
There are several benefits to foam rolling, including:
- Eases muscle pain
- Speeds up muscle recovery
- Increases your range of motion
- Relieves back pain
- Helps you relax
- Improves flexibility
Foam rolling is almost akin to getting a massage. Much of the benefits you would get from a massage are the same from using a foam roller—but with a smaller price tag and no appointment required.
How to Choose a Foam Roller
Foam rollers come in all sizes. firmness and styles. When it comes to firmness, the firmer the foam roller, the harder it will feel on your body. While some people like this deep-tissue massage-like feeling, it’s not for everyone so you’ll want to try a few out before settling on one to buy.
You will also want to consider the size of the foam roller. Some are shorter than others. The shorter ones are good for targeting smaller muscles or to focus on one body part at a time (i.e., rolling one hamstring vs. rolling both hamstrings at the same time).
Shake, Rattle and Roll
If foam rolling and massage are similar in their benefits, then why not combine the two and get the best of both worlds? That’s exactly what the people behind the Vulken VulkRoll vibrating foam roller have done. At seventeen inches long and designed with ridges, you can easily massage both legs at the same time as well as your whole back. With four different vibrating settings, you can target sore muscles with this state-of-the-art vibrating roller. It’s been most people’s experience that a vibrating foam roller offers the biggest bang for their buck because the rolling and vibrating simultaneously work on the sore muscles for greater relief. This is due to the vibration accelerating muscle relaxation and contraction which reduces abnormal muscle contraction. In addition to that, the vibrating aspect of the roller increases temperature and blood flow which has the potential to improve your range of motion.
Muscle recovery and workout recovery are very important in order for you to continue your fitness journey with no, or minimal, setbacks. For many athletes, regardless of their fitness level, muscle pain is often a hindrance to progress. And if you are training for something specific, even a small setback can derail your efforts.
If you are looking for a budget friendly way to get the kinks and knots out of your muscles, foam rollers are a must. Whether you choose a vibrating foam roller, a foam roller with spikes or a massage roller, you’re bound to get some much-needed muscle pain relief. The last thing you want to do is forget the importance of muscle recovery. Your body will thank you for this small, yet effective tool to make your muscles feel like brand new.