Monday Motivation (WEEK 13): Benefits of Foam Rolling

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I hope everyone is doing well and feeling good. Today we are going to get into soft tissue work aka foam rolling. There are different intensities to foam rolling. The harder the roll the more intense it will be on the body. I don’t want to get too deep into the science of what it does to the body but when we roll it changes the quality of the muscle fibers to more mature type 1 collagen. We want to roll until the pain disappears. Yes, foam rolling is not fun and yes it does not feel great. But it is something that is important and as I said in a previous blog, we should do it every day. The more you do something the body adjusts and starts to get used to it. Get past the first two weeks of rolling and it will become a daily routine that doesn’t really bother you, or maybe it will, but just do it. I can’t really get into how to roll out on a blog but there is easy access to videos on youtube to see how you should roll out each portion of the body. Avoid the knee but everywhere around them is beneficial. It is also good to get something hard like a golf ball to roll out the foot. move the golf ball back and forth, side to side on the foot for a couple of minutes and it will give some relief if you are having issues with your feet. Foam rolling should never cause bruising. If we have bruising we should avoid rolling on that body part. 

Our tissue can change in two ways, length and density. We foam roll to decrease the density of our tissue, we stretch to change the length. We should always stretch when the muscles are cold. The theory is that when our muscles are warm and have been moving and working when we stretch them they elongate and return to their normal length. Cold muscles will actually take some deformation and increase in length over time. I always use the programing of foam roll—> static stretch—> dynamic warm-up. We foam roll to decrease the knots and trigger points, static stretch to improve the length of our tissues and then dynamic warm-up to get the body starting to work. A good stretch is uncomfortable. Stretches that feel good and we can do very well, we probably don’t have to do that as much as we are good at it already. The ones that we don’t like and feel uncomfortable with are the ones we need to improve on. People don’t like to hear it but the stretches and exercises we don’t like to do tend to be the ones we should do the most because we don’t like to do things were not good at. We exercise to be better overall. We need to work on things we’re not good at, not do the things we’re good at and feel good about ourselves. When athletes get injured there almost always is a muscle length issue. You tend to see these issues involve a density component as well, which foam rolling helps prevent. Its all about injury reduction rate. 

In Good Health Always,

Sean Maloney

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