Do you want to improve your recovery time, reduce injuries, eliminate tension and scar tissue in your muscles, and improve joint mobility and flexibility....all for under $30?
The next installment of our recovery series is about foam rolling and self massage! Massage...sounds fun and relaxing right? We're going to show you how to make it painful and much less enjoyable! But the foam roller is SO INCREDIBLY effective when it comes to helping your muscles recover and solving muscle and joint problems, it is COMPLETELY worth it.
How Does it Work?
Before we get down and dirty with the foam roller, here is a quick overview of how this stuff works. The fascia, or myofascial system, is a web of connective tissue which covers all of your muscles and muscle fibers (among other things). When your myofascial system is healthy, everything is wonderful and you feel great. However, working out, sitting at a desk all day, poor posture, or sustaining injury can produce adhesions (tight spots) in the fascia. Additionally, the fascia is like a big spiderweb connecting everything in your body. When one part of fascia is injured or tight, it can affect many other tissues in your body. The bottom line: Happy fascia = Happy you!
Keeping Your Fascia Happy
So, how do you keep your fascia happy? This is where the foam roller and other self-massage tools come in handy. Foam rolling breaks up the adhesions in your myofascial system, making everything good again. Does your knee bother you? Do you have IT band issues? Is your upper back tight from typing on a computer all day? Do you have shoulder problems? Lower back problems? Shin splints? You get the idea...many muscle and joint problems can be helped with the foam roller.
Your tight quads and bad knees won't magically fix themselves. You need to jump on the foam rolling wagon. If you do it right, it will suck incredibly while you're doing it. But, in the end, you will feel much, much better! All it takes is a few minutes each day. The more you do it, the less painful it gets!
How To Get Your Roll On
First, buy a foam roller and 3 lacrosse balls (or something similar...the less squishy, the better). You can pick them up at a sporting goods store, or order on Amazon. Tape two of the balls together to make something that looks like the picture to your right. You should be able to get all the necessities for under 30 bucks. These are your new best friends.
Second, find out how to do it right:
We're not going to reinvent the wheel - those videos are great, so check them out. Next, check out CrossFit Invictus' "How We Roll" archive to make your glutes, quads, hip flexors, calves, lats and upper back happy! They utilize not only the foam roller, but the single and double lacrosse balls too!
The first time you hop on your foam roller, you will have a painful revelation: your muscles and fascia hate you. Make it up to them and spend a few minutes with them every day. Your joints and muscles will be more mobile, problem areas will start feeling better, and you might even get a PR on "Fran"!
UPDATE: Kelly Starrett now has an AWESOME Mobility Blog! He posts a video every day of something you can stretch, foam roll, or mobilize with a lacrosse ball. Check it out!
Photo credits: CrossFit South Brooklyn and CrossFit Invictus
Support our website by ordering your recovery tools through the links below - and you'll save money too!