Foam rolling is crucial to preventing injuries and unnecessary soreness after a workout. It works through the fascia and scar tissue that gets built up from wear and tear on the muscles (which happens when you work out) and leaves smooth, pliable muscles that can be worked again without the risk of injury from too much scar tissue. Here’s the deal with scar tissue; when you workout (lift weights, run, do anything that involves your muscles) you create little tears in your muscle fibers and your body naturally replaces this with scar tissue to “repair” itself. It sounds like something that should help but actually this build up of scar tissue creates stiff, tight muscles that don’t move well and cannot be lengthened which means they cannot be strengthened. Stiff tight muscles are also muscles that are more prone too injury, as we compensate with the “wrong” muscles when we can’t get the range of motion we want from the miscues we are trying to work out. Smoothing out the scar tissue with the foam roller allows the muscles more mobility, thus moving more freely so they can work properly and efficiently without risking injury. So basically, this handy little piece of equipment is like a self massage.
When you first start foam rolling, beware: it HURTS! If you aren’t used to getting massages on a regular basis this means you have a ton of stuff built up in those muscles of yours and it's going to be painful to smooth them out! But don’t give up, it gets better and less painful the more you do it. You will start to feel your muscles kind of “let go” as you roll back and forth on the foam roller and you will feel so much looser and lighter when you are done. Foam rolling is also a great way to detox the body and clear out lymphatic system. I recommend my clients foam roll AT LEAST twice a week, but preferably every day if you have the time!