Keep Foam Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

^^ Impressed by my 90’s song reference from the classic band Limp Bizkit?  I knew you would be.

This is Dexter and he is graciously posing in front of three things that have made a difference in my muscle tightness from running:

I will have a post about each of these things, but today I am going to tell you about my foam roller and my love/hate relationship with it.

This is my foam roller that I bought from Red Coyote Running, but they are becoming more popular so you can buy them at Academy, Target, and even Wal-Mart

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the foam roller, here is some information about them:

1. The foam roller stretches muscles and tendons and also breaks down soft tissue adhesions (soft tissue that restricts normal movement and elasticity) and scar tissue.

2. Increases blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.

3. It helps relieve pain and tightness in muscles.

The day after my relay race at the Dallas White Rock Marathon in 2011, my body shut down and my muscles were ridiculously tight.  My hip felt like it was going to snap off, and no amount of stretching or chiropractic work was helping me or the pain.  I learned about Active Release Technique and I started seeing Dr. Adams, who practices ART in a city nearby.  It took about 10 sessions to feel close to normal again and after taking nearly 2 1/2 months off of running, I started back again.  Not only did I get treated with ART, but I was shown some crucial exercises/self massages that aided in my recovery.

I mainly use the foam roller on these four areas:
1. IT Band
2. Quadriceps
3. Adductors
4. Hamstrings

Here are a couple of videos that show you how to use the foam roller on those areas.  I don’t use the foam roller on my calves, because I don’t feel any benefit.  I use a hand weight, and I’ll get to that in another post.

One thing that Dr. Adams taught me to do differently on the foam roller, is whenever I find an extra sore spot, stop completely on it, flex your feet and slowly kick your heel to your butt twice.  I should probably warn you that this hurts.  It hurts just to foam roll, but this process really hurts so do it after you get comfortable with the foam roller.  This process is supposed to really break up the adhesions in your muscles, and it DOES make a difference if you give it time.  When you first start foam rolling, it is going to hurt.  You may think that it’s useless and you are just hurting yourself for no reason, but I promise after you finish a foam rolling session, you will feel lighter and so much better.  You may not even think your muscles are tight, but I bet you that they are.

I roll for about 10 -15 minutes before a run and then I do the same after a run.  I can’t let Dexter be in the room when I roll after a run because I’m sweaty and he does this constantly:

That was taken during an actual foam rolling session.  You can also see the pink in my hair that STILL hasn’t come out after the Color Run.

In the next couple of weeks I will post about my other two running buddies, my lacrosse ball and my free weight/yoga block combo.

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10 thoughts on “Keep Foam Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

  1. Nice job with your foam rolling – I wish I was as consistent as you are! I put mine right next to the tv in our family room so I basically stare at it every night. I read the same thing about foam rolling (stop when you get to a tight spot) but didn’t know about the flexing part. I am going to try that now 🙂

    • I’ve heard about The Stick. I know a lot of people use it for their calves. I’ll have to give it a try, thanks!

      • First visit takes about an hour, following visits are much shorter. I think four visits to hit all the muscle groups, and then it’s follow-ups as needed. I just finished #3 today. 🙂

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