Are you making these foam rolling mistakes?
I know what you’re thinking. I barely have time for my workout let alone foam rolling. It's not REALLY that important right? WRONG. Consider foam rolling to be like brushing your teeth. If you do it every day when you go to the dentist, or in this case the massage therapist they're going to say "wow looking good, let's give this a nice deep clean and you're good to go. [yea my dentist never says that either] Now imagine you skip brushing your teeth every day. First of all — that's really gross so please don't actually do it. Maybe it's more like flossing. Ain't no one got time for it and it hurts! Life is better when you do both on a regular basis.
Why do we foam roll? It's not just to loosen up tight muscles or reduce soreness. There is a lot of research that shows it's beneficial for the fascia - a microscopic web of connective tissue that lives beneath your skin. Fascia connects skin to muscle but also encases your muscle tissue. When you exercise the fascia become stuck together - and overtime can form thick tree-trunk-like fibers that can inhibit movement and flexibility.
So quick recap. Foam rolling is about as glamorous as flossing - but also just as important. You've committed to doing it once a day. Ok once after every workout. OH. KAY. Once a week - baby steps right? There's still a lot more to learn so read on to find out if you're guilty of making these foam rolling mistakes.
If — like many uninformed individuals — you think that the purpose of foam rolling is to dig as deep as possible into your muscle until you are basically crying- you would be wrong. It's also no wonder you don't foam roll as much as you should. Foam rolling, while not the most comfortable thing to do with your time and potentially a little painful in spots - should not make you cry or yelp in pain. If it is you’re putting way too much pressure on that area.
Like fitness - there is a modification for every move when you foam roll. When rolling calves for example - instead of putting both legs on the roller put the non-active leg on the ground for support.
Foam rolling is not a sprint. There are no prizes for finishing first. If you think that rolling back and forth across a muscle as if you're trying to roll out pizza dough is doing anything for you - you're wrong. Take you're time with each muscle - don't forget to breath. Aim to roll back & forth through each muscle 2 times. For larger muscles (calves, thighs, back) roll the lower half separately then the upper half second.
No — not the musical sensation of the late 2010's - one direction as in up and down. You probably jump on a roller - roll up and down your leg or back and then call it a day. Did you know you should also roll SIDE to SIDE [also no - not the chart topping hit by Arianna Grande. But I like where you're mind's at] to target the facia from all directions.
This has absolutely nothing to do with fascia. But it's a mistake a lot of people make. Including professionals. Whomever is out there spreading bad advice to roll your IT band PLEASE STOP.
First of all it hurts like HELL. I saw a PT years ago when I was dealing with one of my first running injuries who had me roll my IT band in his office. Ouch. Also WRONG.
The IT band is not a muscle. It is not fascia. It is in fact a large tendon and it doesn’t need to be stretched out. Instead roll the muscles around the IT band. If you're experiencing chronic IT band pain - see a professional. If they tell you to foam roll it - se another professional.
When I heard all this advice at Idea PTI a few months ago it was a big game changer for me in my recovery routine. I don't hate foam rolling as much and I am more apt to make time now that I know I'm doing it right.
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I still hate flossing though. That sh*t is the worst.