When you study muscles to become a personal trainer, you also learn how to stretch them. Stretching is just as important as your workouts. It helps loosen up tight muscles and joints and improves flexibility and blood flow. When you need to take your stretching to the next level, a foam roller can make a huge difference.
The benefits of stretching are numerous. Sometimes manual stretching techniques alone are not enough to break down the knots and inflamed fascia tissue along the muscle fibers. When you are unable to reach these problem areas, recovery can take much longer after a challenging workout or competition. Foam Rolling is able to get into the muscle fibers deeper than manual stretching alone and break down those knots and lactic acid build up.
There are many different types of foam rollers. There are long ones that most athletes will keep at home or at a gym. There are also smaller and more portable ones that work great while traveling or on the go. They also come in different levels of firmness. Some are very hard and others tend to have more softness or squish to them. Some foam rollers even have lugs or nubs along the foam to dig into your muscle fibers even deeper than the smooth ones. Foam rolling between the different types is very similar. The best type relies heavily on personal preference. When you need take your stretching to the next level and that foam roller comes out, it is not usually a stretch that feels relaxing. It is often painful to dig into those knots, but relief is often felt almost immediately when done correctly.
A certified personal trainer can help demonstrate different types of stretching that can be done with foam rollers. They can also watch you when you foam roll to make sure you are doing it properly. If you are not doing it properly and with good form, you will not be benefiting from the foam roller or relieving the discomfort from your muscles. A personal trainer can also ensure back injury prevention along with tips to get into deeper stretches.
Foam rollers play an active role of training and recovery for athletes. They aid not only in stretching but also in muscle recovery. Rolling the muscles helps to flush lactic acid build up which is what causes the sore feelings after a tough workout. Master your stretching with a foam roller and take your performance and recovery to the next level.