How To Use A Foam Roller

myofascial release

n you’re active and get a lot of exercise, you may well find that your body starts to tell you about it! When you exercise, you’re building tension in your muscles and this tension can result in the formation of knots, caused by overuse, injury, imbalances and so on. 

Over time, if these knots aren’t addressed, they can get worse and cause you more serious problems in the future, increasing the amount of pain you’re in and leading to issues with your posture, as you compensate for the discomfort.

There is something you can do to help work out these knots, however – and that’s roll out on a foam roller on a regular basis. 

Also known as myofascial release, this is essentially what your physiotherapist will do when you go to see them, applying pressure to certain painful points on the body to bring you relief and release that built-up tension.

Depending on how tight the knots are, you may find it quite uncomfortable to roll out, but concentrate on your breathing as you go and try to roll a little deeper on the exhale. Aim to spend no more than 90 seconds on each sore spot – and you can always roll off and then roll back on again if it’s too painful.

In terms of when to roll, if you get a lot of exercise it’s generally advisable to roll out before you train so that your muscles are nice and loose, able to move efficiently as you go. You can also roll out after you’ve exercised to reduce any soreness and speed up your recovery time.

For first-time rollers, use your fingers to find sore spots in your muscles, then slowly lower yourself down onto the roller so that you’re lying on the target area. 

Hold once you feel discomfort for 30 seconds or so, increasing the amount of time the more proficient you get at rolling. Continue rolling down the length of the muscle, finding more sore spots and concentrating on those as you go.

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