7 Awesome Ways to Use a Foam Roller
Aug 10, 2017
"After spending decades on the fitness fringes, foam rolling has arrived at center stage. Whole classes are now devoted to the practice of slowly rolling different parts of the body over a tube; it's thought to improve athletic performance and flexibility, reduce workout-related soreness, slash recovery time and knock out muscle pain.
There’s some research to back up the hype. One recent study in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation found that foam rolling—coupled with old-school static stretching—could increase range of motion in the hip more than stretching alone. One of that study’s authors, Central Michigan University associate professor Blaine Long, says foam rolling may decrease a muscle’s “viscosity,” which would make the muscle less resistant to motion and therefore more flexible. Another study, this one from Canada, linked foam rolling to less muscle soreness, better vertical leap and greater flexibility. There are dozens more. And while some researchers failed to find benefits, nearly all of those experiments involved less than 30 seconds of rolling—compared to 90 seconds or more in studies that turned up positive results.
How could shimmying on a piece of foam do so much good? Foam rolling is often described as a form of "self-myofascial release" (sometimes known as SMR). “Fascia” refers to connective tissue that binds and stabilizes the muscles. By massaging you not only improve your muscles’ range of motion, but you also boost blood circulation, break down tightness or knots in your muscles and bolster muscle tissue integrity." - Markham Heid
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