What is Foam Rolling? How it can help you become a better Athlete Eddie Arvelo, CSCS
I am sure you have seen this piece of equipment at your local fitness facility, or even own one. But what does it do? Are you using it the correct way?
Foam rolling helps your muscles perform their function at their optimal length. If your muscles are performing at their optimal length, then your performance will increase and injuries will decrease! The foam roller is specifically meant to conduct self myofascial release. What is fascia? Fascia is band of connective tissue primarily made up of collagen that is under the skin. Collagen is a structural protein that makes up about a quarter of the human body. There are three different types of fascia. Specifically for foam rolling we are dealing with deep fascia.
Essentially when you work out, play your respective sport or any physical activity there is some type of micro-trauma that occurs in your muscles. Micro-trauma is small microscopic tears of muscle fibers, and that’s what makes you sore (we’ve all had that feeling!). You might have felt it after an intense workout you were not used to. Perhaps even experienced it after a long day of hiking in your legs. This has nothing to do with lactic acid. Inflammation goes hand and hand with micro-trauma. If left untreated inflammation can lead to muscular scar tissue. This scar tissue overtime can lead to muscular imbalances. These imbalances can be but are not limited to tight hips, tight thoracic spine, decreased range of motion in shoulders, and ankles. When these imbalances occur it causes one muscle to work harder than it should overcompensating for the tight muscle. The end result over time leads to an injury and decrease in performance.
We coach our athletes to conduct their foam rolling before and after their training session. We ask they come 5-10 minutes early to do so before our dynamic warm up, as well as roll out post workout after they perform a series of static stretches. Some research has shown foam rolling before a workout can actually cause less micro-trauma after the session. This leads to a better performance on the field. Rolling before the workout, also aids in warming up the body and priming their central nervous system for a training session. When someone foam rolls they are essentially in a plank position. Doing so increases muscle temperature, and blood flow. We tell our athletes that foam rolling is a search and destroy mission. The foam rolling experience should cause some mild discomfort. If you don’t feel discomfort you are going too fast, we tell them to focus on six areas. Quadriceps, achilles, calves, hamstrings, and glutes, and IT Bands. Each body part should take about 1-2 minutes each section.
In strength and conditioning the little things go a long way. Our goals are always to increase performance and prevent injury! Doing this for 10 minutes a day will lead to your child becoming faster, stronger, and have overall better muscle health! Sincerely, Eddie Arvelo Strength Coach www.architechsports.com of umpires, ensuring players are ready for the game, responsible for behaviors, respecting other teams, etc.