Tuesday, April 12, 2016

5 Things You Should Know Before Foam Rolling

The Foam Roller. A must have for some people's workout routine, a complete waste of time for others. That choice is yours. But there are 5 things that you absolutely need to know your first time using a foam roller. We're going to talk about it on today's Weight Loss Journey. Hey, it's Rob. As you know, my wife, Lizzy, and I workout pretty hard when it comes to our strength training days and that can leave us a little stiff and sore. If you're anything like us after leg day, you probably resemble something a little more off of the Walking Dead than an actual human being. So in an attempt to alleviate some of that pain you might be considering a foam roller. Well there are 5 things that you need to consider before actually going out and making the purchase. So, in no particular order, here we go.

The first thing to understand is what they are and what they supposedly do. Basically, these are just high density foam packed together in various lengths and diameters and a quick internet search will show you exactly how to perform the motion. But what these are used for is a practice called "Self Myofascial Release." Self- that's me. Myo is Latin for muscle, and Fascia is the connective tissue that kinda holds the muscle together. It surrounds individual muscle fibers, it surrounds muscle groups. The stuff is everywhere in your body. But over time, it can develop scar tissue and get tight. What you want to do is break this up. Hence the term "Self Myofascial release. 

The second thing to consider is when you look up these video tutorials and you see someone gently gliding across their foam roller with a giant smile on their face, guess what, these people have been doing this a long time. Don't expect to look like this. In fact, you're going to look more like a fish that accidentally jumped out of his bowl. There is going to be flopping. There is going to be jerking. It's going to be more awkward than the night after prom, and for some, a heck of a lot more painful. Don't let the word "foam" fool you. in fact, my first time felt more like rolling over concrete than anything soft and squishy. These things are solid guys. Not only that, but there are trigger points in your muscles that when you roll over are going to feel like someone took a knife and stabbed you. It is painful, so don't expect your first time to be comfortable. 

Tip number 3, is that foam rolling is kind of a workout on its own. There will be effort in holding yourself up while you're rolling. Think of it like a mini-yoga position, okay? It is not easy, you may sweat. Consider too the amount of time you're going to spend foam rolling. So a good routine can take you anywhere between 8-12 minutes if you are doing your entire body, and there is a little bit of learning curve that's going to take longer too so, plan accordingly, this takes some effort. The 4th thing to consider is the kind of results you're going to get. Don't expect a miracle over night here. now granted, immediately after foam rolling you're going to feel a difference. things are going to be a little looser, you're going to feel a little more ready to go. But as soon as you sit down on the couch, you spend any time away from it, you don't stretch right after, it's going to snap right back. Unlike a deep tissue massage where they can actually get in there and manipulate and actually break apart the fascia, this one just kinda compresses and rolls against it, so once again, don't expect a miracle over night. 

Finally, tip #5 would be to "Know what you're buying." Foam rollers come in various densities, so apparently the white roller is much softer than a black roller.And if you see one with a hollow core, that plastic in there is going to help it hold its shape rather than just a straight piece of foam. There are also rollers with various textures on them to help you get into those trigger points. Think about these things before making your decision and if you have an opportunity to play with one before you actually purchase one, absolutely do so. So there are your 5 tips for your first time foam rolling. now, can I recommend that you go out and pick one up? Can I say absolutely, you need this in your home? Not yet. I've only had mine for a couple for weeks and the jury is still out. I cannot, with 100% certainty say that the foam roller has helped me either in performance or recovery. And if I can't say that it's done it for me, I'm certainly not going to say that it will do it for you. But granted, I didn't spend a whole lot of money on mine, and I didn't do a whole lot of research before I went out and bought it, so kudos to you for watching this video before hand. Now if you know of a great foam roller, something that I should absolutely get my hands on, please leave it in the comments below, I'll be happy to check it out, but at least now you know not to have anyone in the room you're trying to impress your first time foam rolling.

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