Foam rolling is a self-conducted therapy which is often utilised in order to improve flexibility, assist in recovery as well as increase athletic performance. This practice is a type of myofascial release therapy and it is aimed at applying tension to the body’s myofascial connective tissue. During the course of the season, athletes train for weeks on end. This can take a major toll on their bodies. Athletes should be aware of the benefits of implementing foam rolling before and after their daily workouts.
This format of self-manual therapy is frequently used for three main reasons:
- Boost flexibility.
- Lessen the delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS) as well as improve recovery.
- Enhance short-term athletic performance.
While there is a very inadequate amount of research to sustain the efficacy of the first two points, there is a substantial lack of research to support its effects on developing athletic performance. Regardless, foam rolling is usually used during warm-up and cool-down routines in order to prepare the athlete for physical activity as well as attempting to reduce the effects of DOMS and promote recovery.
Different Sizes Of Foam Rollers
Foam rollers come in numerous different sizes and densities. Commercial foam rollers are typically available in one of two lengths:
- 36 inches, as well as
- 18 inches.
The construction of foam rollers varies from a mid-density foam to a more rigid and solid plastic cylinder that has a dense foam exterior covering.
Although researchers have shown that higher-density foam rollers may produce more pressure on the target tissues – as opposed to softer-density foam rollers, the downside is that athletes who make use of them may find hard foam rollers far too uncomfortable.
This means that a compromise may be required. The foam rolling surface may also differ from smooth to textured, all the way through to ‘knobbly’. To date, there’s been little scientific evidence as to which surface type may be most effective. However, the ‘GRID’ foam roller has been utilised in previous studies in this area with positive results.
Maintaining Soft Tissue And Fascia Pressure
In order for myofascial release to be effective, an athlete needs to maintain constant soft tissue and fascia pressure. There are many distinct layers of fasciae within the body however all layers include thin and elastic connective tissues which wrap across structures within the body.
The fascia acts as a biological fabric which allows the body to engage in a number of different movements as well as positions. For athletes, when the body takes part in repetitive motions during a workout, there is a quite a high possibility that the fascial fibres will not return to their intended pattern. This could cause pain, muscle “knots, or a restriction in movement. The chief goal of foam rolling is to lengthen and breakdown fascial build-ups in muscles in order to prepare for a workout and help the body recover.
Would you like to discover more about foam rolling? If you do then you need to do our Foam Rolling Certificate. Find out more about this course here.