You have likely seen a few of these taking up space in an unused corner of the gym. They are cylindrical shape, come in multiple colours, sizes and are made of foam. You may even be vaguely familiar with one, having awkwardly jumped on wondering if you were using it right. They are called ‘Foam Rollers’ and they are one of the most effective tools at your disposal for recovery and injury prevention, achieved by performing self-myofascial release.
Our modern sedentary lifestyle, sees us sitting at our desks, in our cars and at home on often more than 8 hours a day. Unsurprisingly, this constant seated positon causes various muscle imbalances, often disrupting good posture and contributing to lower back pain. The hip flexors are particularly vulnerable to this extended seated position (as illustrated below).
Foam rollers are an ideal tool to help combat muscle imbalance as they can apply myofascial release to just about any muscle group. What’s more, you have the advantage of controlling the amount of pressure you apply to the tissue AND what problematic area to focus on.
The main benefits of foam rolling are as follows:
Below are some examples demonstrating basic foam roll exercises: