Last week we discussed Overtraining, this week we focus on the importance of recovery, specifically foam rolling and the tools we have available here at 4!
Foam rolling is a great technique that falls into the general category of RECOVERY. You might notice this is one of the 4 taglines of 4 Performance, and it’s there because it is so very important to every active person’s well being and health. Recovery involves activities and time spent to allow the body’s natural healing and adaptation processes to be optimized, so that the workouts we put ourselves through have the maximum benefit.
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, which can help reduce soreness and tightness in the muscles. There is a connective tissue layer known as fascia surrounding muscles, bones, and joints in the human body. Fascia serves to support and protect these parts of the body. The structure of fascia can change causing implications that may lead to injuries and less efficient movements. Through training and the forced cramped lifestyle of modern office life, we can develop tough and knotted spots in the muscle that form between muscle and fascia. These are called trigger points, as putting a small amount of pressure on one triggers a sense of pain and discomfort because the knotted area causes the nerves beneath the muscle to fire pain signals.
Trigger points hurt, and limit mobility such that they may alter motion around a specific joint which increases the risk of injury. Foam rolling on a regular basis can help make the muscles feel more easily moveable, by relieving the trigger points and preventing them from coming back.
Foam rolling is convenient because you can gauge how much pressure you need to put on the roller, and thus you have a great deal of control over how the release session feels. You can place as much of your body weight on the roller as preferred, but make sure to hit each pathway of the muscle being targeted. When you feel a trigger point, rock back and forth on it for 30 to 45 seconds to make sure the tight spots are released. This is especially important because you can substantially reduce the tightness and soreness in the muscle.
Foam rollers are easily accessible as you can use them at your house, bring them on the road, and you can find them at most gyms. The tools used for foam rolling vary in resistance as there are some that are heavy, some that have soft spikes, and some that are the traditional flat surfaced roller. We have a plethora of traditional foam rollers here at 4 Performance that anyone can use. If you have questions on different techniques and how to foam roll, contact Tim to set up and appointment with one of our trainers or with our staff physician, Dr Paul Cialone, aka, “Doc.” They can teach you the specific techniques to use for each muscle group, as well as point you to various resources on the Internet, including our own exercise library, foam roller series on YouTube.