By Julie Messinger
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
Have you noticed those long round pieces of foam in the fitness center? Wondered what they are?They are called foam rollers and they could become your new best friend!
Now that you know what they are, what do foam rollers do?
Think of a foam roller as a “poor man’s” massage therapist. It helps you work the soft tissue of the muscle. With this cylindrical piece of hard foam, you can apply pressure on sensitive muscle areas.These areas are called trigger points. You may know them as simple muscle knots. These knots are areas of increased muscle density.
The foam roller is often used along long muscle groups such as the calves, quadriceps and abductor muscles. It can also be used on smaller muscle groups such as the hip rotators and the gluteus medius.
Using these rollers to perform a technique called myofascial release, you can relieve muscle and joint pains, including IT band syndrome and shin splints. You can also improve your flexibility and range of motion.
When should you roll? Either before and after working out. If you roll pre-work out, it will allow for a better work out because it decreases muscle density allowing for a better warm-up. If you choose to roll after working out, it will aid in recovery.
These simple pieces of foam are not only beneficial to your body, but also to your wallet. They area lot less expensive to use than getting a deep tissue massage.
So, the next time you are in the fitness center, and you look at those black pieces of foam, pick one up and give it a try! Unsure how? Ask one of our trained exercise physiologists. You might love the results!