Foam Rolling

The first day I started strength training, my trainer asked me to lie down on my back. He then went ahead and put a roller underneath my calves. Roll he said, back and forth. In my head, I was going wow – strength training seems to be a lot easier than I had bargained for. Maybe I will even like this. I could keep rolling all day long. Before long, I was forced to change my opinion. Rolling on a foam is painful as hell. At least at first.

As you live life, your muscles get knotted and develop scars due to abuse. Using a foam roller, also called myofascial release, is one the best ways to loosen muscle tension, relax your joints or aid in muscle recovery. Fascia is the stuff that holds you together. Its like the plastic wrap that surrounds all your muscles, nerves and organs. With use, your muscles can get sore and develop adhesions. This occurs when fascia starts get cross linked and bind with your muscle and other nerves. This then inhibits the movement of that muscle group. The roller can be applied to specific parts of your muscles which are injured and this helps release the stress. The roller also improves the flexibility of the muscles. This can be done both prior to and after a work out. Rolling reduces the cortisol in your body which gets elevated when you exercise. It also reduces the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Finally, it can zap that annoying cellulite that you have been trying hard to eliminate.

Your trainer would tell you that the roller can be used for most of your major muscle groups. It need not be done for longer than 3-4 minutes everyday. Now if only my workout could end there and did not have to then include a burpee.



Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.