6 Benefits of Foam Rolling for Your Muscles 

 March 1, 2021

By  Pham

Did you know that foam rollers are a part of a self-massage method that originated in the 1920s? The idea is that you can improve your issues with pain and mobility by becoming more aware of your own body. 

In recent years you've probably heard the praises sung about foam rollers. But what are the benefits of foam rolling? 

We have six ways your body will benefit from using a foam roller. 

1. Ease Your Muscle Pain 

Using a roller can reduce the soreness and inflammation in your muscles. Delayed onset muscle soreness is a common ailment for those who are physically active. You will feel your muscles grow sore a day or two after your workout. 

Use your roller immediately after your exercise and repeat in the days that follow. This will reduce the level of soreness you feel. 

One study proved this by tracking 8 male athletes. Each man used a foam roller for 20 minutes immediately after their exercise. Then they used it again 24 and 48 hours after the exercise. 

Those in the study who used the foam roller experienced less delayed onset muscles soreness. They also outperformed the non-foam roller users during the exercises. 

2. Increase Your Range of Motion 

Your range of motion directly related to your overall flexibility and performance. It is important to maintain your flexibility to reduce your chance of injury. 

Using a foam roller can help you stretch and lengthen your muscles. For the most effective results, combine your foam rolling with static stretching. The combination will give you a greater range of motion. 

Incorporate your foam rolling and static stretching into your workout by doing it at the end. This is when your muscles are warm and tired. You will reduce your chance of soreness and increase flexibility all at once. 

One study that followed 11 adolescent athletes found that a combination of static stretching and foam rolling was the most effective for increasing their range of motion. This benefit was achieved by doing 10-minute stretching sets.

3. Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite 

Don't we all dread that dimpling effect that suddenly appears on our thighs, buttock, and stomach? Some users claim that using a foam roller can help break up your facia and thereby reduce the look of cellulite. Facia is the connective tissue under your skin and contributes to the dimpled look of cellulite. 

Unfortunately, this is only a temporary effect. You won't get permanent curative effects from foam rolling your cellulite. The best way to permanently reduce the look of cellulite is to stay active, eat healthily, and maintain a healthy weight. 

4. Say Goodbye to Back Pain 

Using a foam roller on your back as a part of your warm-up can result in significantly improved performance during your workout. It can also help you relieve any back pain you may be experiencing. 

You need to take care when using a foam roller on your back, though. If you do it wrong, you can easily injure or strain your back further. 

To properly use your foam roller, turn it vertical so that it is in line with your spine. Now slowly roll from side to side while keeping the roller in line with your spine. 

If you use the foam roller in a horizontal position, you risk it causing your back to arch. This will strain the muscles in your lower back and along your spine.

5. Manage Your Fibromyalgia 

Fibromyalgia pain tends to be all over aching. Then other times, it can be a burning or a deep stabbing pain. For many with this condition, the pain is centered around joints in their neck, shoulders, back, and hips. 

Using a foam roller can help manage this pain and reduce the level of stiffness experienced. One study of 66 adults with Fibromyalgia found that after 20 weeks they generally felt better and had less pain intensity. 

Many participants also reported that they experienced less fatigue and depression. A greater range of motion was also reported. 

6. Time to Relax

Use the time with your foam roller as a few minutes to escape the stress of the day and relax. The roller will break up the tightness in your muscles and allow your body to release the tension it is holding from you feeling stressed. 

As your muscles release and become more fluid, let your mind calm. This will give you an overall feeling of peace and relaxation. 

One study followed 20 women and their use a foam roller. All of the participants would walk on a treadmill. Then some of them would rest for 30 minutes while others would use a foam roller. 

Science showed that there wasn't a big difference between the women data-wise. However, this is only scientific research. The best way to determine if it will work for you is to try it. 

Get the Greatest Benefit From Your Foam Roller

You must use your foam roller correctly if you want to get the maximum benefit from its use. Using it correctly will also prevent you from causing further injury. 

To start, apply light pressure and build on the pressure as you get comfortable and more used to foam rolling. Don't be surprised if you find rolling a bit painful at first. This is because your muscles are very tight and need time and work to relax. 

Reduce the amount of bodyweight you are putting on the foam roller to reduce the discomfort you feel. For example, if you are rolling your calf, you can use your arms to support yourself so that you take some of the pressure off of your leg. 

Keep your rolling to 10 seconds on tender areas when starting. Then you can slowly build up your time to 30 seconds and then 60 seconds. 

Experience the Benefits of Foam Rolling

As you can see, this round piece of foam can give you a wide range of positive effects. All you need to do to experience the benefits of foam rolling is to commit to doing it. 

Using your foam roller once won't give you the results you hope for. However, with long term use, you will start to see the benefits we've described in this blog post.

Michael Rodriguez

I'm a registered massage therapist out of Vancouver BC. I absolutely hate the information I find on Google about this industry and I started this blog to debunk these myths.

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