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What exactly is foam rolling? Foam rolling is most commonly thought of as a self massage for the fascia tissue of the body. Myofascial tissue (imagine spider webs or the inside of an orange peel) consists of the connective tissues that support and connect your muscles. This tissue can become tight and/or painful through everyday activities, poor posture, and even through properly performed exercise regimens. The physical stressors of life that our bodies endure often lead to less than ideal internal conditions for our muscles and connective tissue. Foam rolling is a simple, easy to learn, easy to perform, and effective way to address these issues and help achieve your ideal physical state. Getting the most out of your workouts (and just feeling your best on a daily basis) requires having maximal pain-free range of motion. Pain/soreness and stiffness hinder your body’s ability to perform and limit the effectiveness of exercise. Studies have shown that foam rolling after exercise significantly reduces muscle soreness and increases performance during subsequent workouts. It has also been shown that foam rolling is effective in treating myofascial pain, commonly referred to as “trigger points” which essentially means an overactive muscle. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that foam rolling increases range of motion (e.g. touching your toes). Go ahead and try it for yourself! Standing with your knees locked and feet together, see how far down toward the ground you can reach. Then roll the backs of your thighs and knees (keeping your knees straight) for a few minutes and try again. Did your flexibility increase? An increase in flexibility means a decrease in the potential for injury; something for which every exercise program should strive.
Reduce injury potential, increase muscle performance, reduce muscle soreness, and increase range of motion/flexibility…all for roughly $20 and without the need of an appointment. Foam rolling consistently (i.e. before and after every workout for only a few minutes) is a highly valuable practice and something that everyone can benefit from.
Ryan Resnik DPT, ACSM-HFS
“My passion is to minimize my client’s pain through exercise.”
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