I saw a trainer once use a dead-lift bar to roll over the muscles of one his clients. The client grimaced and everything looked painful for everyone, but after the roll-out the client was visibly and verbally thrilled with how loose and fresh her limbs were immediately feeling.
Then the trainer was like, "You wanna try?"
And I was all like, "Ah, nah, thanks."
Don't get me wrong — the pay-out looked baller, but was it worth the process? I needed something a little less intense than a 45-pound bar and a little more intense than an Epsom salt bath for my stiff muscles.
That in-between, that Goldilocks of myofascial release would be foam rolling.
The human body has 640 muscles and like my French braids in middle school and skinny jeans during PMS bloat days, those 640 muscles can get tight. This tightness has been happening more often to me as my bod continues to age. Sometimes, I wake up sore. It's the worst.
Foam rolling is a way to provide a relief to knotted and tight muscles without having to constantly pay for massages. When used properly, foam rolling can break up the knots or clumped muscle fibers that can form within the body whether from poor posture or consistent strain and use. So, everyone from elite athletes to desk workers (that's me!) can benefit from a roll out.
Trigger Point was generous enough to send me their GRID foam roller, which has a series of notches and grooves to simulate that of a human hand — a massage. The notches can provide the pressure similar to fingers and the grooves are that of the palm. When rolling out your muscles, the simulation of the human hand can break up the muscle fibers and provide a needed increase of blood flow through the muscle, allowing for more oxygen and improved healing to take place.
It's important to be safe and smart when foam rolling, so be very cautious with your posture and avoid the lower back unless under professional supervision. I tend to focus on my legs and glutes, the largest muscles in the body.
In order to get my quads worked out, I put myself in a plank position with my shoulders directly over my hands, engage my core by simulating a feeling of sucking my belly button in to touch my spine, and create a micro bend in my elbows, so as not to stress the joints. Let your lower half relax, allowing your body weight to melt into the roller; this may create a slightly tender, painful response, but allowing for your muscles to relax into the roller will aid in the depth of the massage. Slowly inch your body forward and back and allow for the roller to get into your muscle tissues. Repeat on the outer and inner portions of the thighs.
This mini massage session will leave you feeling loose and fresh. After all, you knead your muscles. (You guys, I had to! But I don't feel good about myself.)
- Have you ever foam rolled?
- Would you rather stick to massages and baths?