Foam rolling is without doubt one of the best things you can do to maximize your workouts and your fitness level. Most people have a love/hate relationship with the foam roller. How can something feel so good but hurt so bad at the same time?But, just like anything else, there is a right and a wrong way to foam roll. Check out the “dos” and “don’ts” of using the mobility tool we all love to hate!
Don’t: Roll too fast
Slow and steady wins the race here! When you find a spot that’s tender and needs extra care, hang out there for 20 (or more) seconds. Foam rolling slowly ensures your muscles are able to adapt to the compression you’re putting on them.
Do: Focus on form
It’s vital to have good posture while foam rolling! When rolling out your quads, you’re basically holding a plank. When focusing on your IT band, your supporting arm is doing all of the work. You could end up with an injury if you let your pelvis drop or let your quads sag. Instead, focus on bracing your core throughout the session. Not sure if you’re rolling correctly? Watch YouTube videos to learn the proper techniques. Then, watch yourself in the mirror. Or better yet, video yourself. That way, you can see what you’re doing right/wrong.
Don’t: Foam roll too long
If you spend too long on a tender area, you put yourself at risk for damaging the tissue or hitting a nerve. Spend only about 20 seconds on each tender area and move on.
Do: Pick the right foam roller for you
There are a TON of different foam rollers out there. Long, short, textured, smooth, etc. Each one has its own speciality. Longer foam rollers are great for rolling out your back and shoulders. Shorter rollers are great for single-arm and single-leg rolling. Soft rollers are perfect for beginners. However, if you’re an old pro, you could check out the denser/textured rollers.
Don’t: Foam roll your lower back or your joints/bones
This is a HUGE no-no. If you’re foam rolling your upper back, stop when you hit your rib cage. And bones/joints are not meant to be foam rolled!
Do: Be consistent
Just like working out, you’ll see the best results from foam rolling if you make a routine out of it. Repeated exposure is important! However, you’ll want to leave 24-48 hours between rolling sessions.
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from dailyburn.com, runnersconnect.com, & gaiam.com