Is foam rolling not working? Is foam rolling making your niggle or injury worse? Take a read of these 5 foam rolling mistakes you could be doing.
Foam rolling is very popular, and rightly so, you really can achieve some great home rehabilitation with a foam roller, mimicking the benefits of a deep tissue or sports massage.
The purpose of foam rolling is to release tense and knotted fascia around the muscle cells. It increases blood flow to the region which provides the healing benefits, which will hopefully get you pain-free and fully functional.
Foam rolling can assist with quicker recovery, prevent and relieve muscle tightness and injury, however, to get the most out of it you need to ensure you are doing it correctly, you may be doing more harm than good with these common mistakes.
1. Use the correct foam roller:
There are a verity of foam rollers, soft to hard, bumpy to smooth. If you are just starting your foam rolling journey then start with a softer one until your muscles get used to the pressure and stress of foam rolling, then gradually move onto the firmer foam rollers and then progress to the bumpy or spikey ones. Starting with the more advanced spiky ones may do more harm than good to the muscles and can cause bad busing and injury.
2.Foam rolling too often (every day):
This is one of the most common foam rolling questions I get when it comes to foam rolling “the more the better” is not the case. Once you break down scar tissue and release the fascia with the foam roller, you need to give your body time to heal. If you're foam rolling every day, you'll start to aggravate the area which can lead to more inflammation and pain.
I would suggest foam rolling every other day, or foam rolling a different area each day, giving the area you rolled the day before a break and a chance to heal. If you are still very sore and in more pain when you go back to roll that area a second time you may need to wait a little longer before foam rolling it again.
3.Foam rolling too quickly:
The more pain and tightness in one area the more time you need to spend releasing it, so don’t just rush over it to get it over and done with. Work into the area with the foam roller, the purpose is to release tense and knotted fascia around the muscle cells, this takes time and you need to increase blood flow to the area to see the benefits. So relax and take your time.
4.Foam rolling only in one spot:
You should never neglect the surrounding areas of where the pain or tightness is- they need attention just as much. Don’t just sit on the sore area for a while, this could aggravate it more and cause inflammation. Releasing the areas around the sore muscle can help to relieve the pain and prevent injury.
5.Forgetting to breath:
Breathing prevents the muscles from tightening up and limiting the range of motion. Breathing helps to relax the muscles and allows you to target the deep muscles more.
During pain, it is an automatic response to hold your breath, so really focus on your breath while foam rolling.
Foam rolling is a fantastic method to aid recovery and minimise pain and muscle tightness, but ensure you are doing it correctly to reap the benefits and avoid aggravating the muscles further.
Hope you found this useful,
BSc Sports Science, Women’s Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer