The foam roller is an accessory that is increasingly used in the world of training. Here are some tips for using it to integrate it into your physical activity and training program.
Although it can be used for strength exercises, the main function of the “Foam roller” is self-massage. It thus imitates the role of manual therapy techniques, certainly without the same effectiveness, but at a lower cost considering that it can be used several times in a week.
For self-massage purposes, one installs oneself so that the roller exerts pressure on the muscle or muscles on which one wishes to work in a static or dynamic way (by adding a rolling movement on the muscle). This pressure should be uncomfortable, but not painful.
To maximize the effectiveness of the massage, it is important to be able to relax the muscle and allow the roller to put pressure on the muscle fibers. A good way to ensure this is to not hold your breath. Instead, focus on exhaling through your mouth for 3 to 5 seconds. If the pain is too great and the muscle remains contracted, the desired muscle relaxation will not be optimal. In some cases, one could even observe an opposite result and the tension in the muscle could increase instead.
Used properly, the benefits of the roller are multiple. In particular, it increases muscle flexibility and joint mobility. It will also promote an increase in blood circulation at the time of its use. It can also help to reduce the “knots” that may be present in a muscle following various traumas (intense training sessions, maintaining an awkward position for a long period of time, injuries, etc.).
Considering the benefits of its use, the roller can be used at different times and with different purposes.
Before a training session: it is a good accessory to integrate into the warm-up. By decreasing the “knots”, it can help improve the quality of muscle contractions. Combined with some stretching, it can also help increase the range of motion of the exercises performed during our weight training session. Thus, it can help improve the quality of these movements and help prevent potential injuries*.
After a training session or during a day of rest: by stimulating the blood circulation of the massaged muscle groups, we promote their supply of nutrients which promotes rapid recovery. Following intense muscle training, self-massage helps reduce muscle stiffness and preserve flexibility and joint mobility. For people suffering from joint pain, this last point can be very beneficial.
The foam roller is an accessory that can help optimize your training and your recovery. That being said, each individual has a specific condition which means that joint stability and mobility needs differ from one person to another. Thus, some exercises may not be recommended for your situation. Know that at the Centre Multisports, qualified professionals are available to supervise you in your training sessions.
Ianick Calamia B.Sc,
BOYLE, Michael, New functional training for sports second edition, United States, Human kinetics, 2016, 243 p.