Whenever we work out or get in some type of activity or movement, we engage different muscle groups to help us perform those activities. Our muscles are surrounded by fascia, fibrous tissue that helps protect our muscles and connects them to our bones. However, when we work out regularly and don’t focus on getting proper mobility of the fascia, the fascia can become cross-linked and pull on our muscles and nerves, causing us pain and discomfort. Down the line, this can cause us to not perform exercises with the proper technique and forces our bodies to rely on smaller muscles to perform bigger exercises which they aren’t meant to handle.
Foam rolling is the process of loosening up our tight muscles and the surrounding fascia in order to keep our muscles working properly and to ensure our bigger muscles activate when we need them to. Here are three main benefits to foam rolling!
Foam rolling can increase blood flow. When our fascia gets tight, it can pull on different muscles and compress nerves, causing blood flow to be slightly constricted in that area. By releasing some of that built up tension, blood flow can return to normal in that area, reducing the feeling of tension, or even slight numbness, in a given area.
Foam rolling can increase your range of motion. According to a study done by the Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research, foam rolling helps increase range of motion by returning your muscles and soft tissue to their native form. “Exercise, injury, and the rigors of life can cause knots that restrict mobility and performance. By smashing those knots and allowing soft tissue to operate correctly again, foam rolling increases range of motion and improves workout performance.” (direct quote from http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/science-says-foam-rolling-increases-rom-and-does-not-decrease-strength)
Foam rolling can decrease your recovery time and reduce your risk of injury. This comes as a result of the two previous benefits. By having increased blood flow throughout the body and having full range of motion in your muscles, your body operates better as a whole.
Increased blood flow helps reduce the amount of recovery time you need, and having full range of motion in your muscles allows you to lift with proper form, reducing your risk of getting hurt.
Looking to start incorporating foam rolling in your routine? Check out these 5 quick foam rolling techniques to get you moving better and feeling better!
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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