Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Using a foam roller for the first time or even with experience, you could still be doing it all wrong! IT Bands seem to be a major culprit in this predicament of mindful foam rolling. We need to stop beating our IT Bands up with foam rollers, be aware of muscle groups and the body's different chains, and how they can all affect each other.
What is Myofascia?
Myo means muscle and Fascia is a form of connective tissue that wraps and bundles muscles. Your fascia provides a structure for the body, like a support system to protect muscle groups, internal organs, and the human body as a unit. So together we have Myofascia.
Should Foam Rolling Hurt?
As with any sort of fitness you do, you may feel discomfort at the time which is designed for long-term healing, to gain flexibility, or more strength. Try to roll consistently for fewer knots and you will experience less pain over time.
Foam Rolling Benefits?
Range of Motion: Foam rolling can increase ROM by 4.3% according to this study, which of course leads to better overall movement and fewer injuries. Score!
Warmup: Foam rolling is a great way to increase blood flow, circulation, and get those sleepy muscles to awaken before a great workout.
Faster Recovery: Rolling out will increase oxygen flow to the muscles which increases your rate of recovery.
“Foam rolling is also called myofascial release and is designed to work out the 'knots' in your muscles. You could compare the practice to self-massage. The technical terms for ‘knots’ are trigger points or myofascial adhesions." —American Council on Exercise (ACE)
Can't I take a yoga class or something?
We are huge supporters of yoga classes but it doesn’t break up muscle adhesions the same way your 2-in-1 foam roller is going to. Using the outer more dense roller for deep tissue and our softer foam roller for a lighter massage. Or find a yoga class that incorporates some sort of deep tissue massage.
Don't Beat Yourself Up Over It
Quite often you'll hear that if you find a tender spot to then press/roll/shear on it for 30-45 seconds and repeat until the knot releases. This might not be the right plan of action. If something hurts you need to find the root of the pain or tenderness. Remember all of our body is connected in some way. i.e: in most cases, knee pain comes from the glutes not firing properly.
“if the pressure is on the right point, 20-30 seconds max should hydrate that tissue and encourage the trigger point to disappear. More time won’t help; more accuracy of placement will.” – Tom Myers
If the muscle is tender in a certain area but is not causing pain, it’s ok to spend 30 seconds or so holding your body weight on it with the roller to try and release the knot. You don't want to irritate the area so try not spending a lot of time on it throughout the day. maybe once or twice a day.