Foam rollers can now be found in just about every gym. You’re sure to see a stack of rollers in the corner, most likely neglected because they aren’t fully understood.
Foam rollers are actually an effective and precise way to trigger pressure points on your body to release muscle knots and work out pain points. Foam rollers are basically a form of self-massage that can be modified to your levels of health and your stress points on the body.
They mimic movements used by professional therapists to loosen and release the trigger points in your muscles that can refer pain to your body.
Your muscles have points that can develop “knots” in them. They are called knots because of how they feel when pressed. A good indication that you have a knot in the muscle tissue is when you press on the affected area and feel pain. That pain also radiates to other areas around the knot.
When you trigger or put pressure on these points, the pain can radiate all the way down a leg, along with an arm or across the back. It can limit your movement and be damaging to your body’s alignment.
They work by using your own body weight to pressure deep tissue and stimulate circulation in those areas. As you use the foam roller, your body pushes down on the roller while rolling along the length of the muscle. That works to break up scar tissue, adhesions in your muscles, and speed up the healing and rebuilding process after a large workout.
You can use foam rollers to do a number of things which is why they are so ubiquitous in the gyms. They provide good acupressure, they stimulate core body strength, and they can facilitate stretches for deeper release in the muscles’ tension.
The reason you’ll want to use a foam roller is to act as a myofascial release system. That is, to say, a way to work and knead the tissue deep within your muscle mass. You can use those muscle knots as a pinpoint on the areas that you need to release from the pain. It’s an uncomfortable pain, but not unbearable.
Why would you want to do something that hurts? It’s the way your muscle reacts to the pressure that is different to normal stretching patterns. When you stretch the muscle, it doesn’t release that tension that’s built up over some time. That stretching process can sometimes actually tighten the knot, not doing anything to ease the discomfort.
When you use the foam roller, it encourages the muscles to relax and stimulates blood flow throughout the muscle area. The reason foam rollers are so effective at this is because when you are performing your own muscle massage, you’re able to regulate the pressure and what areas you need to attend to most. It’s effective most because you know your own body and what it’s reacting to.
Muscle knots can develop from poor posture, neglecting the balance in your workout patterns, or compensating for injury. Our bodies are exceptionally good at maintaining the status quo or our normal lives, but when the stress gets too much for your body, that’s when muscle knots can form.
Regular foam roller exercises can keep your body in the right alignment, your muscles loose, and your core stable. Don’t neglect this powerful tool during your next workout.