Week 7 of the Better For It Challenge is all about recovery. The Nike+ Training Club app has a 30-minute Reach & Recharge workout to help you reboot. The digital mini challenge is all about foam rolling, which got me thinking about the topic in general.
A good friend of mine who runs quite frequently came over last night and admitted that she’s never foam rolled, nor does she know how to use one. This happens more often than not, I meet so many people who don’t foam roll but workout + run on the reg. I know it can seem tedious but foam rolling is really the best weapon you’ve got and it is super easy. Just 15 minutes a day can make a world of difference.
Let’s break it down. Foam rolling is a type of self massage (self-myofascial release) in which pressure is applied to certain areas of the body to relieve pain. Foam rolling limits soreness and tightness by increasing blood flow and flexibility. When muscles are tight, injuries are more likely to occur so foam rolling is a great way to combat injuries. Essentially, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. This means muscles are elastic, healthy and ready for prime performance.
When you foam roll, the pain is similar to what you experience while stretching. When you hit a tight spot or trigger point it should feel uncomfortable but not unbearable + you should feel relief when you’re done with the specific area you’re targeting. The goal is to roll slow and steady. No more than one inch per second. When you hit an area that is super tight, pause and wait for the muscle to relax as much as possible. This will break up any knots you may have. If you’re experiencing tightness in an area that you can’t hit with your foam roller, grab a tennis or lacrosse ball. Both are great for glutes. Always make sure to target soft muscle tissue – not bones or joints!
Here are my favorite foam roller stretches:
- Upper Back Roll
- Calf Roll
- IT Band Roll
- Hamstring Roll
- Quad Roll
- Glutes Roll