This is Part 5 of my 5-part series on stretching and the focus is foam rolling and advanced stretching!
With foam rolling, you are trying to release the tension in the muscle and the fascia surrounding the muscles. There are a few key points to keep in mind:
1. Find a foam roller of appropriate density. Some are softer than others and some are harder so you may need a variety for different muscles and you need to find the density that is appropriate based on how much you can handle.
2. Foam rolling is somewhat painful if you have tight muscles and fascia and is NOT an overnight fix. It must be done consistently to see improvements.
3. You are looking for hot spots (points of tension) as you roll down the muscle from origin to insertion point. When you find a hot spot, hold there for a few seconds, then move on to the next hot spot.
Some of the most common muscles to use a foam roller on are IT band, hamstrings, quads, gluteus medius and low back. See the video below for a quick how-to:
If you find you have a lot of tension in certain spots or areas, especially in the upper body, it will be beneficial for you to get a tennis ball or lacrosse ball depending on how much you can handle. The same principles apply but you are going to hold the ball on the hot spot and move over it to release the tension. This is best used for upper back, shoulders, and feet.
If you are looking for products to use for foam rolling check out The Stick and Trigger Point Therapy for more information and/or products!
Check out the other parts of the series: