Move over FitBit, there’s another fitness tool that’s taking over the weight room. While perhaps less sophisticated in nature, the humble foam roller is literally on a roll, with more and more research supporting its wide range of benefits. This includes everything from increased flexibility and pain prevention to enhanced performance.
According to the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, the practice of foam rolling, coupled with static stretching may increase range of motion in the hip more so than stretching alone. Essentially, it helps to increase flexibility in ways we can’t necessarily achieve on our own.
Ever pushed through a great workout only to be punished later on with stiff, cranky muscles? We work out to enhance our lives, but when our workouts leave us in an aching heap the next day, it can become pretty counterintuitive. This is where the foam roller comes in. The tool is a method of self-myofascial release (SMR), an alternative therapy that treats immobility and pain in the muscles.
Myofascial release techniques are intended to bring gentle and sustained pressure to the body. Working to smooth out those hard ‘knots’ in the fascia, or connective tissue, the technique encourages a sense of release in the body. And according to a study published in Current Sports Medicine Reports this may be just the release you need. In the study, it was concluded that self-myofascial release has a positive impact on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOM) and can help to decrease soreness following DOM. This can lead to enhanced performance in the long run as it allows the active individual to exercise longer and more actively.
In another study, individuals were to perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions of barbell back squats over the course of four weeks. In order to identify the effectiveness of foam rollers on quadricep muscle soreness, some subjects completed 20 minutes of foam rolling. The control group did not perform any type of post-exercise treatment at all. When the results came around, the difference was quite astounding. In fact, those who did perform foam rolling were significantly less sore than those who did not, according to the Journal of Athletic Training study.
Don’t let soreness keep you from playing in the game! By incorporating foam-rolling exercises, you may prevent the limiting pain that keeps you from doing what you love. You might also become a better athlete for it. In a study featured in Sports Medicine, it was discovered that those who use a foam roller actually experience an increase in maximal voluntary contraction. For lead researcher, Dr. Lewis Macgregor, there is a strong case to be made for the foam roller as a pre-workout activity to both enhance performance and lower the risk of injury. “I surmise that foam rolling prior to exercise helps to light up the pathway between the brain and the muscle, providing a better understanding of what is required,” Macgregor says. He continues, “Our research—for the first time—suggests that foam rolling offers a viable alternative warm-up technique that does not result in diminished muscle strength, which is often associated with static stretching. It shows that foam rolling may be a useful technique in helping to reduce stress and strain on muscles during exercise and, therefore, could reduce injuries.”
Whether you’re an elite athlete or an active individual, the use of a foam roller can benefit your performance on and off the court. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy to use, and it’s even easier to find ways to work towards your health and fitness goals. Luckily, recovery and training company, BLACKROLL, sold through Active Life Solutions, is making it even easier to reap the benefits. Active Life Solutions focuses on healthy living, healthy lifestyles and products, which not only rehabilitate, but also prevent injury. With a full family of products in-house, Active Life offers everyone from the beginner to the elite athlete the products and tools they need to succeed.
Regeneration and Functional Training
BLACKROLL’s foam rolling products are intended to help in two main ways, regeneration and functional training. Used for regeneration, the foam rollers can be used to heal from the aches and pains of daily life and an active lifestyle. While helpful for healing and restoration, the Myofascial release tool may also be used to challenge the intensity of your workouts and to build strength, overall.
Whatever you’d like to achieve, BLACKROLL helps you get there, providing the right exercises to engage and relax various muscle groups. BLACKROLL even provides a convenient phone app, The Blackroll® App to guide training and self-massage techniques.
So, the next time you’re at the gym, you’ll understand just why this tool has become so popular. And with a tool like BLACKROLL at your fingertips, you’ll be ready to roll!