Foam Rolling for Beginners

Hey. Hi. Hello!

Today I got terrible news. I found out I have sensitivities to peanuts, gluten, and dairy. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to move on from what is actually 94% of my diet, but I’m going to do my best for future Lane. Also, I got new candles today, so I guess we can count that as one win for today?

If you’ve read any of my Fitness Friday posts recently, you may have noticed a common theme of me slowly (no actually it was very, very quickly) running out of ideas to write about. So, I did what any resourceful human did and I asked my friends!

Well actually I asked the one friend I had that actually works out with some sort of consistency (sorry everyone else, still love ya’ll tho). She told me that she doesn’t know how to foam roll properly, and like the good friend that I am, I’m here to solve all her problems through Google and written word.

Now, although I’m a personal trainer and definitely have a certification in self myo-fascial release (the fancy name they give for foam rolling), I wouldn’t say I’m amazing at it. In fact, one time I just laid on the roller like a cross for a solid 30 seconds because it just felt productive. BUT, please trust me here.

Foam rolling is a great technique to implement into your workout routines for both warming up and cooling down, depending on the sort of work out you’re planning on doing. Typically, I’ll recommend resistance bands/dynamic warm-ups for weights-based workouts, and foam rolling for a warm-up for any distance-based cardio.

The principle behind foam rolling is that it improves circulation within your muscles, as well as releasing any knots that could contribute to limitation in muscle movement. In general, it works best as a way to prepare the muscles for both warming up and for the cool-down stretches, as it readies them to lengthen, especially after tough repetitive movements.

I’ve included a link to an article down below that has some great videos for the most popular muscles that are best activated with foam rolling. When it comes to using a conventional foam roller (or a PVC pipe if you’re looking for a really deep activation), the larger muscle groups are generally best targeted, since they have a larger surface area.

As such, I would only recommend foam rolling for the lower body, such as the IT band, hamstrings or glutes. For the upper body I’d recommend using a yoga peanut or a lacrosse/tennis ball. When you get into the upper body you start getting into areas where the muscles aren’t as large or easy to target. Because of this, using something as large as a traditional foam roller can cause your muscles to be manipulated in such a way that can cause more harm than good.

Do you have all of that? Good. Now that we’ve covered those basics, let’s talk about the proper rolling form. If you’ve ever been to a gym then you may have seen people foam rolling or just roll back and forth on that stupid thing like they’re a human vacuum. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

While that’s good, it’s not great. I’m about to present to you greatness. IMPO, the best way to foam roll is not fast and wild, it’s slow and steady. I’ll start at one end of the muscle and slowly work my way down to the other end, pausing on any spots that cause me pain for five seconds before continuing on. Then I’ll go back over with one final roll to seal the deal.

There ya have it. How to foam roll, along with the great method for doing so. If you need to know how to foam roll for a specific area on your body, please consult the google because it’s so much harder to try and type it all out than it is for ya’ll to google something. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Until Next Time!




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