I Tried It: Foam Rolling

Foam rolling. It’s so hot right now, isn’t it? Goop’s talking about it, Kayla’s released her own branded grid roller and many gyms now have rollers as standard in their cool down sections.

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But what is foam rolling? in a nutshell, foam rolling or myofascial release, to use the technical term, is a way of using a small foam tube, with grids or without to stimulate your fascia, the thin layer of connective tissue that surround your muscles. When we stretch after a workout, we help relieve soreness in large muscle groups, however we do nothing for the fascia. Foam rolling can prevent / reduce stiffness in the fascia, which in turn helps to increase mobility, range of movement and even lymphatic draining. Which is important, even if you’re not an Olympic athlete.

Foam rolling has become really important for me, especially since I’ve increased the amount of exercise I do. Even though I’ve discovered that genetically, I have a fast exercise recovery time, I don’t enjoy the mild stiffness I get the day after a workout. Real talk: the day after I did my first Kayla pre-training workout, I struggled to sit down and stand up properly at work because my legs were so stiff and sore. Not a good look, especially in an office of sports-mad blokes!

I love how easy it is to do. You’re ideally supposed to do some foam rolling after your workout but I never have enough time, so I tend to foam roll in the evening when I’m watching TV or chatting to my husband. Just bear in mind that depending on how often and intensely you exercise and how often you foam roll, it can be painful. Almost that pleasure / pain, where you know the pain is a sign of relief. It’ll make sense when you try it!

Here are some easy foam rolling exercises to try out. The key is not to go too fast – it should be a slow, fluid movement. If you start to experience pain, stop rolling and stay on that part of the muscle for 30 – 90 seconds to try to release the tension.

Here are some good foam rollers:

  1. A lightweight grid roller that gets deep into any knots.

Grid roller

2. I use this one regularly – it’s a good starter foam roller.

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3. This looks like a great two in one option.

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Happy foam rolling!

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