If you’ve been in a gym, a CrossFit box, a sporting goods store, or even the fitness aisle at a big box store, you’ve likely encountered a foam roller by now. This simple piece of exercise equipment is popping up everywhere, for good reason.
Fascia is the connective tissue that covers almost every area of your body — it is composed of collagen fibers that surround and penetrate your muscles, organs, and nerves — essentially, fascia is the glue that keeps us together.
It makes sense then, that our fascia would take a beating as we exercise and move throughout our days. Overtraining can cause it to become sore and restricted, and if the connective tissue surrounding your muscles becomes restricted, so will your muscles in their movement.
Myofascial release occurs when you apply pressure to the effected areas in order to release this tension. Foam rolling is an incredibly effective (and easy!) way to release this tension and restore proper movement to your muscles.
5 Ways Foam Rolling Can Improve Your Workout
Foam rolling has an infinite number of benefits for your workout routine and daily life, but let’s take a look at 5:
1. Improved flexibility and range of motion. New research shows that foam roller exercises before a workout do an excellent job of releasing muscle tension and increasing flexibility.
2. Reducing stress. Doing foam roller exercises after a workout can help reduce stress as research shows myofascial release lowers cortisol, the stress hormone.
3. Injury prevention. Injuries are far easier to avoid if you properly warm up for your workout. By incorporating the foam roller into your pre-workout routine, you’ll prepare your muscles for the work ahead and reduce your risk of injury.
4. Better circulation. Myofascial release improves circulation by breaking up the tight areas in your muscles where blood flow has become restricted. Better circulation leads to better blood flow, a stronger immune system, and a better workout.
5. Reducing exercise-related soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the soreness in your muscles you often experience 24-48 hours post-workout. Foam rolling post-workout can reduce this soreness by releasing the muscle tension that causes it in the first place!
Foam Roller Exercises
Convinced of the many benefits of foam rolling? Check out this video for a foam rolling program that will help you get the best pre and post workout bang for your buck with a foam roller! Need a foam roller? Try this one – it’s easily our favorite.