What Is It And What Does It Do?
Exercise induces micro-tears and swelling in muscle fibers, which impinge on nerves and vessels. Over time, this can develop into adhesions and scar tissue. Foam rolling helps smooth out these obstructions and break down adhesions, helping to increase blood-flow within the muscle.
Another benefit is that it helps your muscles relax by activating the sensory receptors connecting your muscle fibers to your tendons. The net effect is better blood circulation, which in turn speeds workout recovery and boosts performance. If you hit a sore spot while foam rolling, hold the roller there for 30-60 seconds—you found a tight area that needs special attention.
Foam rolling can be performed both before and after a workout. Current national academy of sports medicine guidance recommends foam rolling before a workout as best practice. Concentrating on sensitive spots will help relax your muscles. This is the first step in a proper warm up, followed by stretching any tight muscles, and then performing dynamic warm-up exercises.
Foam rolling after a workout helps your muscles return to the proper length and recover even faster because it can prevent the buildup of scar tissue.
There are foam rollers available for use in the fitness center. Give it a try sometime either before or after a class..