Monday, July 14, 2014

Using foam rollers for therapy and conditioning? Try these helpful tips to maximize your results!

How to Properly Roll Out When Using Foam Rollers

How to use foam rollers
  • Make sure you are well hydrated- While rolling actually hydrates your tissue, you still need to prepare your muscles in advance – it is best to drink 10 to 20 ounces of water before each session.
  • Roll both before and after workouts- Rolling can replace stretching as a warm up and cool down.  Rolling increases circulation so muscles and connective tissue get more oxygen and water than if one just stretched.
  • Roll slowly- Rolling can hurt.  However, if you rush through each movement, you are wasting the chance to work your muscle tissue.  Use slow, purposeful motions. Focus on painful areas first because they need the most attention, hydration, nutrients, and oxygen.
  • Move in multiple directions-Not all muscles and connecting tissue run in the same direction, or even in a straight line.  Go from side to side, not just up and down.  Rub the spot being rolled.  Flex and extend the joint being rolled. 
  • Roll out daily- Make rolling part of your daily routine.  It will help your muscles and connective tissue, and eventually lessen pain you feel from rolling out.

Rolling out can be very advantageous for your muscles during sports and physical therapy. Here are a few things to avoid so that you are getting the most out of your foam rolling technique! 
  • Don't roll directly where there is pain- Roll a few inches away from the area that is sensitive.  Take your time, and work in the region around sore areas.
  • Don't roll too fast- Go slower so that the surface layers and muscles have time to adapt and manage the compression.  Use short, slow rolls over any sensitive spots.
  • Don't spend too much time on one knot- Spend 20 seconds on each knot, and then move on.  You can also manage how much body weight you use on the knots to take some of the weight off the roller.
  • Practice proper posture- You need to hold your body in certain positions over the roller.  That requires a lot of strength.  If you do not pay attention to form or posture, you may actually cause harm.
  • Don't use the foam roller on your lower back-  You can use the foam roller on your upper back because the shoulder blades and muscles protect the spine.  Stop once you hit the end of the rib cage. 
Sports Health offers several options for foam rollers, please visit our website to see which product is best for you!

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