Monday, April 18, 2016

That's How I Roll!

You have probably seen tons of people rolling on them at the gym.  You have probably seen tons of those rollers for sale at department stores.  Have you ever considered adding it to your workout routine?  I really think you should. 
And yes, it might hurt a little bit when you go over some knots, but you will love the changes you will notice on your body with consistent practice of foam rolling.  No matter if you choose to add it to the beginning, as part of the warm up, or at the end as part of the cooling down. The important thing is to keep doing it.  Mix it up, try before and after and see which you prefer.    

Before hitting the gym for your next workout session check out the 5 benefits of using a foam roller:

Rolling quads - you can do them both or separately


1. Reduces cellulite/firmer skin: When you consistently use the foam roller in conjunction with your exercise, you might start noticing that the skin on the areas you are rolling feels more youthful and with cottage cheese appearance.  That’s because when you apply pressure to your body parts thru rolling, you increase the blood circulation.  When your tissues get more blood they are happy.  This is a big one, and I know that your body changed in many ways after having kids, and even if cellulite wasn't a problem before, it is very likely you have them too.

Rolling glutes*


2. Helps reduce lactic acid: sore from yesterday’s workout? Can’t even sit on the toilet without letting out some major cuss words? That’s lactic acid that got trapped between your muscles. It is a good thing because that means you worked out right and fibers of the muscles got tiny tears in them.  Now they are rebuilding stronger.  But does it have to hurt so bad? Actually not.  You can use the roller after your workout and help your muscles flush some of that out by massaging your body with the roller.

Rolling side glutes


3. Increases mobility and flexibility: flexible muscles are strong muscles, so by using the roller, you increase your chances of doing better and harder workouts.  In addition, your mobility might be better because your muscles feel rejuvenated and not as achy. How many times have you gotten discouraged during a workout because you feel limited to what you can do. 

Even calf rolling is good!


4. Helps prevent new injury: this one goes along with the previous benefit.  Using the foam roller as maintenance of your good physical condition will help you prevent future injuries.   My chiropractor said once that muscles like pressure, so if you apply pressure on your muscles you will release the tension and therefore be less likely to injure that muscle.

Rolling lats - you can also roll your arms (not shown)


5.  Helps break up scar tissue: you may be able to break up some scar tissue you didn’t even know you had that was formed from a healed injury. Because your body is essentially being massaged, it will move and break away those adhesions. 

Rolling upper back*


Ready to try it as part of your next workout sesh?  You will find yourself looking forward to the massage.  It does hurt good once get used to it.  Just keep in mind these 4 tips to get the most out of it:

1.  Don’t roll directly on a sore spot: When you find a really sore spot try shifting the position to one side or the other slightly and hit that area from the side.  Rolling directly on it is no better and it might hurt you more than help you.

2.  Go slow: Really take your time.  Each movement should be very controlled.

3.  Spend only a few seconds on each area: Huh!? You just said go slow!? Yes, go slow but don’t spend hours in the same spot.  I usually just do 10 reps on each area and move on. 

4.  Don’t roll your lower back and abdomen: That’s where important vital organs are housed, including your spine.  You don’t want to mess with that!

Now you’re all excited about trying the foam roller and the question is: should I use the smooth or the bumpy one? Think of it this way, the smooth one is a light Swedish massage, the bumpy one is a deep tissue massage.  Many days I use the bumpy one, I personally like how it feels.  Only sometimes when I want to take it easy I use the smooth one, especially if I’m using it on my upper back.

If you'd like to have a foam roller at home check out the links below.  Those are the ones I use at home and love them.




* Notice that even though the roll goes on the lower back in the picture, I'm not going over the kidneys (close to the love handles).  Just be careful and not roll there because you don't want to injure any part of it.  You'll know when to stop if it feels funny.


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