So you all have probably noticed the weird multi coloured cylinder rods propping up the wall next to the cross trainers in the gym. No, they are not for the structural support of the building, they are actually very useful in relieving muscle tension using a technique known as myofascial release. They are called foam rollers, and when used correctly can be very helpful in reducing aches and pains in the body, reducing inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, aiding in recovery, and improving flexibility, mobility and circulation. Best of all, they relieve the age old muscle tension that we’ve become all too used to!
Best Practices to Relieve Muscle Tension
The best way to relieve muscle tension is through massage and stretching. The next best thing to getting a professional massage is using a foam roller (it’s much cheaper and is time effective too!). A foam roller (you can buy some here) helps to iron out knots in the muscle by lengthening the muscle fibres back to their original state. The best way to use the foam roller is with a slow roll along the length of the muscle for approximately 30-60 seconds. If a “hot-spot” is found, proceed to slowly and carefully massage the knot with small movements along the fibres (“muscle shearing”) for a small amount of time (approx. 20s). This process can sometimes be uncomfortable or even painful (ITB anyone?) but when performed correctly can be an excellent way of relieving muscle tension.
Getting Started with Foam Rollers for Muscle Tension
In the gym we have foam rollers of differing lengths and hardness so you can choose the one that suits you best at that time. They can be used all over the body with a variety of techniques and methods. It is very easy and effective to use on the legs, and popular areas targeted are the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors and ITB. It is also great on the thoracic and lumber spine, and for stretching out the pecs. You can even use them as a workout tool!
For more information on how to use foam rollers, be sure to approach one of us and express your interest! They can be a great benefit to your health, and once you are familiar with how to use them you can add them to your regular workouts in the gym and at home.