Improve performance with a foam roller

For me, the worst part about working out is paying for it the next day. This used to be the reason that I dreaded leg day. In the past, I would only workout legs on a Friday or Saturday, so I would have the weekend to recover. I was hesitant to push myself in the gym because I didn’t want to suffer for the next two or three days. Implementing a foam roller into my training regimen has drastically reduced my recovery time.

How it works

There is a multitude of benefits you can reap from using a foam roller. When paired with static stretching, expect to see major improvements in range of motion and flexibility. Apply pressure against the foam roller using your body weight. Shift your weight back and forth slowly allowing the roller to massage your muscles. I think it feels fantastic immediately following a workout, however, it may be slightly painful trying to roll out muscles that are already tight with soreness. Know your pain threshold to understand the difference between soreness and an injury.

A photo of me rolling out my quads with a Power Systems foam roller.
Rolling out my quads
A photo of me rolling out my hamstrings with a Power Systems foam roller.
Rolling out my hamstrings

Where to use a foam roller

I mainly use a foam roller on my legs, but I will also roll out my back if I had a particularly tough lifting session. Roll over each muscle 6-10 times or until you feel like your muscle tightness is relieved. For legs, I follow a training session with static stretching then roll out my quads, iliotibial (IT) bands, hamstrings, and glutes. If you are new to foam rolling, try rolling both quads or hamstrings at the same time. For a more intense massage, roll out each leg individually. When I roll out my back, I like to start at my tailbone slowly rolling up to my neck. Lift your arms above your head for a few passes then leave them by your sides to target different muscles.

Alternative ways to roll out muscles

A foam roller is great for legs and backs, but you may be wondering what you can do for your chest. It can be ineffective and painful to use a bulky piece of equipment on a small section of your body. Grab a tennis ball or, ideally, a lacrosse ball to massage your chest and shoulders. I have discovered that sticking the ball against your upper chest and leaning against a pole is a great way to keep constant pressure on your muscles. Keeping the ball between your chest and the pole, raise your arm forward and then to the side several times to allow the ball to dig in and relieve tension.

When life hands you muscle tightness/soreness, just roll with it! Be grateful you have the ability to work your muscles and get sore because your health is the ultimate blessing. Leave a comment letting me know if you learned anything from this article that works for you. As always, thank you for your time and attention.

Side note: Sorry I’ve been MIA on this site for the last 3 weeks. Managing a website is a full-time job in itself, not to mention juggling my jobs and summer class. The good news is I’m back into the swing of things, so see you next week!