The Benefits of Foam Rolling!

by Tyler Shamaly

Feeling stiff, sore, tired or all of the above? I'm about to tell you how foam rolling can actually help you to solve those three problems easily! First and foremost, before we head into the great benefits of foam rolling I want to briefly explain how to to properly foam roll in order to achieve these goals that you'll be wanting to achieve!For the general consensus for foam rolling, you want to apply the pressure of the roller to the targeted muscle you would like to decompress. Once you've rolled up and down on the muscle, try to pin-point and area (called a trigger point) that seems to hurt more than the other areas that you had touched with the roller. Once you find this trigger point, hold your weight and pressure on the trigger point for anywhere between 30 to 90 seconds in order to relax the muscle under the pressure. Make sure to take deep breaths through the diaphragm through all of this in order to optimize results.Benefit #1: RelaxationAfter I've done a long session of foam rolling and stretching, it leaves my breathing to a nice slow and steady pace due to all of the pressure that I had just taken out of my body. If done correctly, foam rolling will take tension out of the muscles that you work on with it, which will essentially reduce stress in that particular area of the body. By sticking through the temporary pain on the roller and alleviating body stress (trigger points), the mind will follow the same pattern as the muscles and begin to relax.Now, some people will say "after foam rolling I don't get that feeling," well I'm here to tell you that maybe you didn't take enough time with it. While we highly recommending foam rolling and area for approximately 30 to 90 seconds, that doesn't mean that you have to stop at 90 seconds. If your tension is not mostly relieved in that area within 90 seconds, try to stick through it for a bit longer in order for the muscle fiber to fully decompress. Without the release and relaxation of the muscle, your body and mind will not get the residual effects from the foam rolling. Always be patient!Benefit #2: FlexibilityOh sure, I know that we seem to be consistently preaching mobility here at Ascension, but we do it for a good reason! Let's say that the muscles in your shoulders are tight, leaving the flexibility with your arms and chest to be less than sub-par. Every time you go to workout your chest, your damn shoulders seem to always pop in the way. However, if your shoulders were less congested with knots (trigger points) then they would ideally allow the chest to expand and contract the way that it needed to, rather than limiting the range of motion during a movement.Another great example of why the flexibility makes a major difference is squatting! Most people commonly complain that squats hurt their knees which we dispelled here when in reality their quads and hips are so tight that they are forcing the knees to be pulled upon during the movement. The constant pressure of the quad tendons being pulled eventually leaves to a nasty pain in and around the patella leaving with people hating squats. However, if you were to foam roll your quads and stretch out your hip flexors, you would notice that your knees are less like to ache as you go down into your squat. This would be due to the fact that we de-loaded the muscle that was pulling too much on the knee (the quads) and allowed the correct muscle (the glutes) to drive the force properly so that the movement is less flawed.Benefit #3: Pain ReleiverEver felt in pain before? Of course, let's not kid ourselves, we've all experienced a bit of pain in our lifetimes. But in all honesty, have you ever had a bad back for instance? If so, let me explain to you how you're going to take the ache out of that "bad back" of yours! You would begin by laying on the foam roller on your back (like in the ELIMINATE Lower Back Pain video) and start to decompress the back from the top all the way down to the bottom, followed with a couple of simple stretches. IF done properly and IF you allowed the muscles to fully relax under the roller for the appropriate time, you will notice a significant decrease in pain through-out your entire back! You can also use foam rolling on virtually any muscle in your body, which we will continue to build a library of exercises you can do with the foam roller in order to rid your pain!Oh, and if you're not familiar with our [MOBILITY] Series on YouTube I highly recommend either clicking the link or clicking the video to get some demonstrations on foam rolling. Thanks for the read, and take it easy!