As a regular part of your recovery for your Kiama Fitness Program, I encourage everyone to start using something called a foam roller – a round cylinder of foam that can make a big difference to your results.
Foam rolling is quickly becoming a staple in training programs worldwide. From elite athletes to weekend warriors, you can head into any of the best training facilities around and see people using a foam roller as part of their regimen. As with any new training modality, there are usually lots of questions regarding foam rolling or SMR (Self Myofascial Release) including:
- What are the benefits to be gained?
- Is it safe and effective?
- When is the most optimal time to do it?
The first question a fitness professional will often get though is “why am I doing this?”
If you’ve ever performed SMR on yourself, you know the first couple of times are generally quite uncomfortable! When you first start using a foam roller, you might not like it, because your muscles may feel a bit sore and the process may be a little tough to take the first few times becuase of knots or adhesions in your muscles. Keep in mind that if you do have some spots, this process will really help. Healthy tissue should not be painful, so if you have sore spots, it means you have adhesions or tightness that you need to get rid of. Your body will feel so much better when you’re using this tool consistently.
SMR offers many of the benefits of stretching and more. Muscles need to not only have strength but also optimal function through a full range of motion. While stretching will work to improve the length of the mscle, SMR and Massage work to cause increases in muscle length and the breakdown of soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. There’s obviously overwhelmingly positive results to be gained from regular Massage Therapy, but from a financial and convenience point of view we can’t all be expected to do that on a frequent basis.
SMR on the foam roller offers an effective, inexpensive and convenient way to both reduce adhesion and scar tissue accumulation, and eliminate what’s already present on a daily basis. Just like stretching though or any other aspect of fitness for that matter, foam rolling doesnt yield marked inprovements overnight, you’ll need to be diligent and stck with it.
The following are some reasons you might want to include SMR/Foam Rolling Techniques into your training:
- Improved mobility and range of motion
- Reduction in scar tissue and ashesions
- Improved quality of movement
- Fill in the gaps between Deep Tissue Massage and Active Release Techniques from a Therapist
In the beginning you should go through the foam rolling rituals at least two days per week for about 10-15 minutes at a time. You may find it easier to make it a habit every night before you go to bed. Work on any given area for 1-2 minutes. If an area is particularly tight, spend longer on it. If an areas not as bad spend less time on it. The key is to spend the most time on the tightest tissues.