Foam rollers can be used as a way of warming the muscles up ready for exercise by encouraging circulation, loosening the muscle fibres and increasing the range of motion. They can also be used to form part of your cool down/stretch or as a separate stretch session. Although there’s little evidence to suggest that foam rolling breaks down knots in the muscle fibres, the action of rolling on the muscle encourages the nerve receptors to tell the brain that the muscle is ok and to relax.
There are lots of different foam rollers on the market, some smooth/patterned, long/short, nodules and some even vibrate. if you’ve never used a roller before I would suggest starting with a smooth one as the patterned varieties can be brutal on the muscles!
Using a foam roller is fairly straight forward but does require a certain amount of body strength to support the body whilst rolling a particular area. To roll up and down, simply place the target muscle on the roller and move up and down the length of the muscle.
To move sideways, place the muscle on the roller and roll sideways on the width of the muscle. You may find that placing one limb on top of the other can add pressure to the self massage.
Press and hold is a good technique to use to target specific areas. As you’re rolling and you find a tender spot, stop and press on it. There’s no right or wrong in terms of time to do this, just as long as it feels good. When foam rolling, try to eng