I’m not going to lie, the first time I used a foam roller in the gym I thought my back was going to snap. It was a sure sign that my muscles were tight as hell and using one was long overdue.
Despite initially regarding them as an instrument of torture, I sucked it up and continued to use it before and after workouts as advised. I’m now a complete convert come preacher, and cannot recommend using one enough.
Feeling ‘the burn’ after a workout is like a badge of honour, a sign you’ve trained hard and are getting stronger. However, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can hinder your training and increase risk of injury. I’ve learnt this the hard way over the years with numerous injuries (torn intercostal muscle THE worst!), because I didn’t stretch sufficiently or do any form of active recovery.
Self-myofascial release (self-massage) with a foam roller relieves tight muscles by smoothing out the knots and encouraging blood flow to the area, returning them to normal function. It hurts! But works… it’s uncomfortable but bearable and gets easier over time. Rolling daily or 3/4 times per week could save you a fortune on physio fees if/when your muscles finally give in!
Here’s a few exercises I do and recommend…
Hamstring roll – I regularly find myself walking like John Wayne, I do this most days.
Back roll – this is the most satisfying! My back is always in knots from the gym, bad posture sitting at my desk, driving and the day to day norms.
My foam roller cost around £10 from eBay, they come in all shapes and sizes but ultimately they all do the same thing – a great investment.
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