When I first began my research on marathon training, I wanted to learn about all the best stretches to do post run to minimize the chance of injury. While I found a lot on stretching, I found even more on foam rolling. What can a little cylinder of foam really do for you and your muscles? It helps decrease muscle tension and increase flexibility to reduce risk of injury. According to No Meat Athlete,
Rolling over a compressed piece of foam or tennis ball helps soften brittle muscles, so that they become more pliable, elastic, and resistant to injury.
I try to foam roll at least once a week. It’s easy to do while watching TV or just listening to music. I’m not going to lie, it can be a little painful, but that just shows me how much my muscles need it. The more regularly I roll, the less painful it will become – so I just need to stick with it!
A lot of people compare foam rolling to having their own personal deep tissue massage – just for less money! I bought a simple foam roller for about 25 bucks at a local running store, but they range in price based on quality and size.
I use it to roll out my quads, hamstrings, calves, and shins. I also use a tennis ball to get some of the smaller spots, like my knee and the arches of my feet.
Interested in learning more about how to get your foam roll on? Runner’s World suggests some great foam rolling exercises for runners, No Meat Athlete also provides a great list with images, and here is another chart from Escape Fitness:
Do you foam roll? What are some of your favorite rolling exercises?