Foam rolling is rightly becoming more and more popular amongst the running community. However, to gain the full benefits, good technique is essential. So today, let's take a look at 4 approaches that'll ensure you're foam rolling correctly and using your time most efficiently.
1: Stay relaxed - Let's be frank, foam rolling can be excruciating at times! It can therefore be very easy to strain and tense up. However, you should try to remain calm and relaxed as this encourages the flow of blood and other fluids around the body, exactly what we want to gain from rolling out. If you're new to it, don't start out with the firmest roller. Begin with a softer one and use your feet where possible to offload some of your body weight so less force is placed upon the muscle.
2: Adjust your body - Where possible it's really useful to move and rotate the body part you're rolling so that all areas are covered. If you just stick to one line you may be neglecting areas that need attention. The calf is a good example, be sure to rotate the leg whilst rolling the calf, rather than simply sticking to one channel.
3: Roll slowly - It's essential to take your time and move gradually when foam rolling. Ensure that you slow down when you get to a tender area, and give it some focus rather than just going back and forth at speed. Skipping over a tender spot defeats the purpose of rolling out, so definitely avoid doing this.
4: Don't neglect - We all have our favourite and least favourite exercises. Perhaps you enjoy chest and back sessions in the gym but you dread leg day so often skip it. Or maybe you like stretching your hamstrings as they're loose but you hardly ever stretch your calves as they're always uncomfortably tight. It's often the case that the areas we neglect the most are the parts that need the highest amount of attention. So if you find rolling your quads easy but you never roll your adductors (groin) because that causes discomfort, perhaps it's time to focus more on the troubled areas?
Written by Marc Brown