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Foam Rolling

What is it? What are the benefits? When should you use it?

Our Physiotherapist Laura looks at the craze which is foam rolling along with common uses and benefits.

So, what is it all about?

Foam rollers have become one of the most popular forms of self-manual therapy. Most athletic training programs now utilise foam rolling as a staple warm-up and cool-down exercise.

Foam rollers are cylindrical shaped, dense foam tools which now come in varying lengths and finishes. They are used to “roll out” massage, or manipulate different muscle and regions of the body. By using your body weight, you can dictate the amount of pressure applied to the targeted area.

Ok, what are the benefits?

Increases flexibility.

Studies show that foam rolling improves short-term flexibility (up to 10 minutes). Moreover, when used on a regular basis it can improve long-term flexibility.

Reduces the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improves recovery. Recent research has demonstrated that foam rolling can reduce the sensation of DOMS following exercise. This may prove invaluable during strenuous training and competition periods.

Improves short-term athletic performance.

In addition to dynamic stretching, the use of foam rollers has almost become a replacement to static stretching. Recent research has shown that static stretching can decrease force production, power output, running speed, reaction time and strength endurance.

Well, when should you use a foam roller?

There is no clinically proven time (of exercise) nor time frames for using a foam roller, however we suggest:

  • Pre-exercise (as part of your warm-up)

  • To loosen specific muscles/areas

  • 2-3 minutes per area

  • 3-5 times per week

And, where should I use the foam roller?

A foam roller can be used in several different areas of the body for a variety of problems, the most common of which are:

  • Iliotibial band (ITB) tightness

  • Calf pain

  • Hamstrings pain/tightness

  • Lower back pain

  • Stiff mid back (thoracic spine)

  • Tight gluteal muscles

  • Sciatica

  • Shin splints

  • Hip pain

You should consult with your Physiotherapist before implementing the foam roller into your exercise regime.

To find out more, or to book an appointment call 8941 8555.

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