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Foam Rollers: Rolling in the Deep Tissue

Wanna know the second best rolls next to cinnamon rolls? Foam rollers.

Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release in fancy terms, is a deep massage for your muscles that focuses on the tissue called fascia. Fascia is the body’s connective tissue and it basically supports and protects everything. Yup, that’s right – EVERYTHING. From your muscle groups to your organs to your nerves and even blood, this tissue can be found from your head down to your toes so it’s best you keep these tissues at its best state.

nordic lifting foam rollers

Whether you’re an athlete, a regular gym-goer, a 9 to 5 office-based employee, or a couch potato, the fascia can tighten and become stiff causing problems such as limited flexibility or movement and going as far as pain.

While there are other methods such as using a lacrosse ball or even just your own hands, the foam roller is a good option. These can vary from low-density to high-density, from short to long, to plain or spiky, but all offering the same benefits for your body:

Benefits of Foam Rollers:

  • Foam rolling relieves muscle soreness. Rolling over and applying direct pressure on the tight muscles and knots help them relax and release tension. The exercise breaks up these knots resulting to better blood circulation and more oxygen flow that leads to muscle recovery and less soreness.
  • Foam rolling improves movement and performance. Knots, which are tightened fascia also known as trigger points, restrict a full range of motion affecting your movement and performance. Breaking these knots through foam rolling can help return muscles and tissues back to normal so you can move better.
  • Foam rolling boosts your immune system. It’s no surprise that the lymphatic system, responsible for detoxifying your body and keeping it healthy, runs along the facial plane of the body. This means that when your fascia tissues are tight, lymphatic fluid cannot move around properly. Foam rolling eases these tightened fascia, allowing proper detoxification which results to better immune function.

Before you get to rolling away those knots, keep in mind that it will be painful and uncomfortable in the beginning. This is a deep tissue massage and knots are stubborn muscles that need to be broken. Once these knots have been worked out, you’ll feel more at ease when foam rolling. Don’t let the first try scare you!

Here are some target areas you can focus on while foam rolling:

Quads

Target your quadriceps by lying face down with the foam roller just under your hips and quads, positioning yourself as if you were to do a plank. Roll down your legs, stopping just above the knee and then roll back up. It’s best to shift as much weight onto the foam roller as you can. Also try to rotate your legs inward and outward to hit the inside and outside quad muscles.

Foam Roller Quads

 

Hamstrings

Focus on your hamstrings by placing the foam roller behind your knees and rolling up the back of your legs with your arms to the side for support, then eventually stopping by the glutes.

 

Foam Roller Hamstrings

 

Upper back

To start rolling on your upper back, lie on the ground with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle if possible and with feet flat on the ground. Position the foam roller perpendicularly below your shoulders, giving yourself a hug while lifting your butt off the ground and slowly pushing with your feet. Roll up and down your back slowly and find the areas that hurt and hold for those for 20-30 seconds until the muscles release.

 

Foam Roller Upper back

 

Calves

To concentrate on your calves, place both legs out and your ankles rest on the foam roller. Place your hands on the side, palms down then lift your hips all the way up and roll over your calves. You can also cross one leg over the other at the ankles for isolation to target one calf. To get the inner part or outer part of the cal, just turn your toes inward or outward.

Foam Roller Calves

 

IT (Iliotibial) Band

Focus on your IT band by laying on one side and placing the foam roller just below your hip. Cross your other leg over and position your foot flat on the floor. Placing as much weight as you can into the bottom leg, roll from the hip to just above the knee and back up. Repeat for the other side.

Foam Roller IT (Iliotibial) Band

Don’t forget!

  • Go slow, take up about 1-2 minutes for each part and identify areas that sorer than others. Make sure to hold that spot for 20-30 seconds until the muscle releases.
  • Never roll on a bone or joint. This will cause problems, so tilt your body when targeting your back to avoid directly putting pressure on your spine.
  • Drink water after every rolling session! This prevents lactic acid build-up as you detox.

Best believe you’ll feel free as a bird when those knots and tightened muscles are gone. It’s amazing what a single foam roller could do when you learn how to use it. I guess foam rollers might just be better than cinnamon rolls after all...

If you're looking for a foam roller, why not try our Nordic Lifting foam rollers now at 20% off when use our coupon code FROLLER20 upon checkout. 

If you already have a Nordic Lifting foam roller, then check out our article on 'How to Make the Most out of Your Foam Roller'.

 



author

Elyza D.

Creative Writer