At Exercise.co.uk, we're huge advocates of stretching, injury prevention, and recovery. It comes up in almost everything we do. One of the newest methods of this is foam rolling. It seems to be growing in popularity constantly, which is always a good thing, but do you use it yourself?

Well, you should. It is essentially a form of deep tissue massage that you can do to yourself from the benefit of your own home. What more could you ask for? It helps you to work on the areas of pain or discomfort you’re feeling from daily life as well as exercise-related soreness or injury. It helps your recovery in general. Even the deepest knots in your muscles can be relieved just from a single session, it really does work wonders.

Women foam rolling

What's it like?

We won’t lie to you, it can be a bit uncomfortable because of what you are doing. It’s like stretching a sore muscle the day after your workout or dealing with DOMS. It’s uncomfortable, but extremely relieving when you finally manage it, and it’s practically the same thing. Unlike some stretches though, you have a lot more room for manoeuvre in terms of specific pain points.

You have complete control throughout the whole process, so you can do whatever it is you need to do for as long as you need to do it and can stop whenever you feel you should. The fact that you are doing it yourself means that you have the massive bonus of knowing what and where the problem is. That's not something someone else can do for you in most situations.

woman rolling triceps

Pre-workout

Foam rolling has more uses than just the post-workout recovery too, which gives it even more points for you to consider when deciding whether or not it's right for you. The use of a roller helps to increase blood flow wherever it is being used, and when you combine this with removing the knots in your muscles, you are doing amazing things to your body. When you’re in this state, you'll get the best and most effective possible workout you can, thanks to all that preparation.

And there's even more! When you are doing this to your muscles and removing these knots or adhesions, you're allowing your muscles to be as ready for exercise as they can be in more ways than preparation. Your flexibility and movement range will be at its peak once you've mastered the art. That means you can reach incredible contractions and really feel the benefit of your exercise without feeling like you can't move or feeling sore and tight afterwards.

woman rolling thighs

Foam Rolling Risks

So, what can go wrong? Well, there’s always something when it comes to anything exercise related, and foam rolling is sadly no exception. The main concerns about rolling are based on doing it in the wrong places. Rolling on bones or joints can be very detrimental in the grand scheme of things. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you try rolling anywhere for any reason. Take particular care of your back and your neck too. These are not areas where you want to inflict damage as they can have permanent effects and do real damage to your entire body.

To summarise, foam rolling is awesome. It does wonders for your entire body and puts you in your peak physical condition in ways that other methods just can’t. It’s ideal for pre and post workout, and even on rest days so there’s rarely a bad time to do it. Avoid over rolling though. You should be doing it about as often as you’d be willing to train the muscle, with is usually every other day at least, and be careful where you roll. Other than that, do a little bit of homework, and choose a roller that’s right for you. That’s it!

Happy rolling!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.