Foam rolling is a common practice used in a multitude of athletic and rehabilitation scenes. Called self-myofascial release (SMR), or self-massage, foam rolling is a technique that aims to inhibit overactive muscles for relaxation and less restricted movement. Rolling can be a great benefit both before and after a workout. Adding foam rolling into your pre-exercise warm-up will help decrease muscle density, leaving you with warm, stretched out muscles. To aid in muscle recovery from a strenuous exercise routine, add foam rolling to your cool down.
Treatment time will depend on the individual. Targeting each muscle group for 30-60 seconds should be sufficient, but if tender spots remain after that period, continue to roll. This technique, much like a strong massage, may produce some discomfort. After a session with the foam roller, the goal is to feel better, not worse. It is important that an individual distinguish between mild discomfort related to a trigger point and potential injury pain. Foam rolling should never produce bruising.
The following video shows Cameron Purington (Athletic Trainer, Barlow HS) foam rolling his hamstring muscles. For more foam rolling videos, visit the exercise library on our website or our YouTube page – SportsCarePT.