W.O.W. WORK IT OUT WEDNESDAY 09/16/15

“Work it Out” – Get over that mid-week hump with the added gusto of a new work out move. Some moves may be borrowed from the Kama Sutra. Possibly.

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What Is Foam Rolling?

Simple!

It’s a type of Self-Myofacial Release [SMR] or “self massage”.

NO guys, not that kind of self-massage.

SMR with a foam roller is designed to get ride of adhesion in your muscles and connective tissues by increasing blood flow to the muscles and speeding up recovery times.

Sounds great!

So…

Is it Safe?

Well, yes, but like any thing else, there is a proper way to do it and an improper way to do it.

It has been used by athletic trainers, personal trainers, and even physical therapists for decades, but now that it’s more mainstream, it is important to know what you are doing if you start foam rolling sans professional lead.

Let’s take a look

TOP 5 Mistakes foam-rolling lackeys Make

  1. Rolling directly on pain  

Don’t do it!

If you have a tender spot, especially in your legs, you may cause more damage by keying in on a very sore spot.

First and foremost, know WHY you are sore. If you simply worked out really hard , do yourself a favor by easing away a few centimeters from the actual spot and rolling around it. Remember, all the muscles and tendons in your body are connected, so working out the tension in one area will have a positive impact on those around it.

There is no need to put yourself in undue pain.

If, on the other hand, you are sore because you suspect you injured yourself, it is not recommended you foam roll. Never foam roll on a swollen area. See the “When you should not foam roll” section below for more on this.

2. Rolling really fast

Slow down! I know it’s painful, but the faster you go, the more you increase your chances of causing additional inflammation.  You may find it helpful to use short, slow rolls as oppose to longer ones.

It takes your body a while to recognize it needs to exhale and relax its muscles. Give yourself some space.

Always, always, always continue breathing while you foam roll. Never hold your breathe. Take inventory of your breathe, especially if you are in pain, you will instinctively hold your breathe.

In addition to breathing, make sure you hydrate afterwards, as the process of foam rolling will release toxins and toxins are best carried out of the body with water.

3. Rolling for too long

Bottom line – spend no longer than 20 seconds foam rolling any one area. And spend no longer than 10 minutes foam rolling your body in total.

Mix it up and foam roll different muscle groups as shown in the infograph below.  You can foam roll every day, depending on your level of activity, most people find it most helpful to foam roll every other day.

4. Improper Form

Just like with lifting weights and needing to have proper form in each repetition, there is proper form to foam rolling.

Pay special attention to our friend, let’s call him Ned, in the infograph below. Take note of where his arms are positioned. This is the proper form. For instance, when foam rolling your thighs/quads, your body should be in a plank-like pose.

If your hips are sagging, it will contort your spine and you may injure yourself.

No bueno.

5. Rolling on the No-No spots:

There are a few spots on your body you should never ever foam roll,

  • The front/back of your knees
  • Lower back [below the rib cage]
  • the front of your torso [where all your major organs are]

The infograph below shows the safe places  – take special note of the one that says HIP – it looks like Ned is about to foam roll his lower back. He is not, I assure you. For that move, you would stay on your hip crest and simply rock back and forth just a few inches onto your glutes [butt muscles].

As a general rule, stay on soft tissues and avoid rolling directly on bones, joints, and organs. Your kidneys are easily accessible through your lower back, so this is one of the reasons we do not foam roll on the lower back.

Why You Should Foam Roll

  • The pressure of your body weight in conjunction with the roller gives your muscles a much deeper massage than simply rubbing
  • Contributes to overall relaxation when done properly
  • Increases blood flow which assists in boosting nutrient absorption, range of motion, immunity, and muscle function and recovery
  • Decreases blood pressure and build up of cellular waste/toxins
  • Increases release of serotonin and endorphins  which boosts mood and overall feeling of well-being

When You Should NOT Foam Roll

  • On bare skin that is open, infected, or burned
  • To treat chronic pain from old injuries [without consulting with a doctor]
  • If you have Hemophilia [without consulting with a doctor]
  • If you have eczema, herpes, boils, or otherwise necrotic tissue [without consulting with a doctor]

There you have it, Misfits!

Questions? Comments?

Comment below or email direct to write.with.ms@gmail.com

Until Next Time,

Stay Well,

MissFit

MissFit is not responsible for any injuries sustained or perpetuated by those foam rolling properly or improperly. Don’t be that guy.

picture c/o ashleyjameshealth.com

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