Exercise

Benefits of Foam Rollers

Here are six specific benefits of using foam rollers –  

  1. Using foam rollers can reduce the risk of developing adhesions. Tissue adhesions are created as the result of collagen binding between layers of muscle. If a muscle is held in a specific position during extended periods of inactivity or overused during repetitive motions, collagen can form between the layers of skeletal muscle, which can create adhesions or knots that restrict the ability of muscle sheaths to slide against one another. The friction and pressure created by the regular use of a foam roller can keep collagen from binding between layers of muscle tissue.
  2. Myofascial release can reduce tissue tension and muscle tightness to increase joint range of motion (ROM). When adhesions bind between layers of tissue, they can cause a muscle to remain in a shortened position, which subsequently increases tension on surrounding muscles and restricts joint motion. Regular use of foam rollers for myofascial release can alleviate muscle tightness, helping to ensure optimal joint ROM and enhance overall movement performance.
  3. Foam rollers can help restore the proper length-tension relationship to muscles. A number of muscles work together to create joint motion; if one segment of tissue becomes tight, it creates an imbalance that can cause the muscles working on the opposite side of a joint to lengthen and become inhibited. This means they will not produce the proper amount of force for optimal motion. Using a foam roll for myofascial release can reduce tightness to ensure a proper balance of competing forces around a joint. It is best to use foam rolling as a warm-up before using multiplanar patterns that adequately create full extensibility of the involved tissue.
  4. Foam rollers help reduce soreness after an exercise session to promote the recovery process. The natural inflammation that occurs during the tissue-repair process combined with a lack of movement after an exercise session could be a cause of muscle adhesions. Exercise-induced muscle damage signals the repair process. This is when new collagen molecules are formed to help repair injured tissue. If tissue is not moved properly during this repair process, the collagen could bind between layers of muscle creating adhesions. Using a foam roller after exercise can help minimize the risk of the new collagen forming adhesions between layers.
  5. The pressure from rolling can help increase blood flow and elevate heat in the involved tissue. Using foam rollers helps reduce tightness and increase joint ROM, which are important prior to a challenging workout. When using a foam roller during a warm-up, be sure to use it only for a brief period of time to elevate tissue temperature and reduce tension. Applying pressure with a foam roller for an extended period of time could desensitize the muscle and affect its ability to contract during the workout.
  6. Myofascial release can help promote a feeling of relaxation after a workout, an important psychological benefit. When using a foam roller during the post-workout cool-down, aim to move at a consistent tempo of approximately 1 inch per second; focus on areas of tension for up to 90 seconds to allow the tissue to relax and lengthen.

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