Foam rollers are exercise devices used for massage and fitness. While usually long and cylindrical, they come in many shapes, sizes and varying textures. When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas (known as “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is also called myofascial release.
While a first attempt at using a foam roller may feel a bit awkward, the technique becomes much more natural with a little practice. When using a foam roller to massage sore muscles and provide tension relief, it’s important to roll slowly and apply pressure directly to the target area.
Healthcare professionals and trainers have long known about the foam roller’s myriad of benefits for physical therapy patients and elite athletes, but experts are just recently learning how valuable they can be for everyone else. Whether you’re looking to massage sore muscles or use the roller in an exercise routine, it can provide you with a number of health benefits.
Using a foam roller for self-massage as seen in the video above is a great way to relieve tension and stress throughout the body. Rolling out sore areas helps break up fascia, the network of tissue that connects muscles, allowing you to be more flexible, increase range of motion and help your tight muscles recover from strenuous workouts. This process of myofascial release also speeds up muscle recovery so you can be fully ready for your next workout or competition in less time.
There are many different types of rollers for massage, and choosing one depends on your preference for massage intensity and individual needs.
Foam rollers can also be used in a variety of exercise programs. Some of the most common uses involve Pilates and yoga routines. In these programs, the roller can be used to create an instability that challenges the core, promoting strength and balance. Other movements use the roller in ways that increase flexibility and range of motion, such as stretching and bending exercises.