Your Guide to Foam Rolling & Their Benefits

If you live an athletic lifestyle, there are days when your body is beat up. You feel sore and achy, and your fitness might suffer as a result. Stretching and resting might relieve some of the pain, but never enough. However, there is a new method to alleviate some of that soreness and tightness: foam rolling. The following is a short guide on what foam rolling is, and how it benefits you.

What is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling, according to Science Sport, is the use of a hard foam roll to perform self-massage and manual therapy on the body. These rollers come in various shapes and sizes, and you can use it on virtually any muscle group that you can think of. A person using a roller will typically perform three-to-five sets of twenty repetitions. Repeating this routine up to five days a week should give you some of the best results. Rollers are inexpensive, and easy to find in stores. Local gyms may also include them in their standard equipment. If you want to give them a try before buying your own, then this may be the way to do it.

Primary Benefits of Foam Rolling

Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness, or DOMS, is often a serious barrier to an active lifestyle. Sore muscles kill your motivation and make performance on a day-to-day basis more difficult. According to a study by the Journal of Athletic Training, foam rollers can substantially reduce the effects of DOMS and speed up recovery after tough workouts. This is particularly the case after heavy lifting with major muscle groups such as the legs and back. Complex, heavy exercises often cause severe soreness after hitting these muscles. A roller can significantly decrease the DOMS effect on these muscles and is a natural fit for use on the legs.

Other Possible Benefits

Research has been inconclusive so far; however, some experts suggest that foam rolling might improve athletic performance and flexibility. A study conducted by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy had mixed results regarding flexibility and an unfavorable outcome for enhanced performance. Other similar studies have reached the same conclusions, but the right amount of data has not been gathered for a consensus. Nonetheless, certain outlets insist that foam rolling helps muscles to "warm up" before athletic performance. If this is true, rolling could provide even greater benefits for your workout regime. Other evidence suggests that range of motion and general flexibility can be increased by foam rolling to a point.

The Verdict

Foam rolling lacks research for many conclusions. There are major holes in some claims, but there is proof that it benefits recovery. Recovery is one of the most important parts of an active lifestyle. Therefore, rolling may become an essential component of fitness. If you struggle to recover from DOMS, give a foam roller a shot.Suffered and injury and still want to train despite the pain? Click here to read about the effects that training while injured could have on your body, and why recovery is vital!