Foam rolling is an effective method of reducing tension and increasing muscle length for either a pre-workout warm-up or post exercise active recovery.
Here are several benefits of foam rolling.
Foam rolling can reduce the risk of developing adhesions or knots which are created as a result of collagen binding up between layers of muscle when the muscle is held in a specific position for an extended period of time or overused during repetitive motions. The pressure from the foam roller reduces these adhesions or knots.
Myofascial release can reduce tension and muscle tightness to increase joint range of motion. When adhesions or knots bind between layers of muscle they cause the muscle to remain in a shortened position which causes tension and restricts joint movement. Foam rolling reduces this tension to allow proper range of motion.
Foam rolling helps restore length-tension relationship to the muscle. Muscles work together to create joint motion. When one tissue becomes tight, it creates an imbalance that causes the muscle on the opposite side to lengthen and become inhibited. Foam rolling can reduce tightness to ensure proper balance around the joint.
Foam rolling reduces soreness after exercise to promote faster recovery. Use of a foam roller after exercise helps to reduce the chance of collagen to bind between layers which creates adhesions or knots.
Pressure from the foam roller helps increase blood flow and elevates heat to the tissue. Use of a foam roller helps reduce tightness and increases joint range of motion which are important prior to a workout.
Myofascial release helps promote the feeling of relaxation post workout.
Foam rolling provides the greatest response when you place a specific body part on top of the roller while applying pressure to the underlying tissues. Focus on areas of tension for up to 90 seconds to allow the tissue to relax and lengthen.
Below are a few examples of different types of foam rollers.