Over the last few years foam rolling has become extremely popular. This is in large part due to more people discovering the many benefits associated with this type of workout recovery.
Its like having a deep tissue massage without spending hundreds on a massage therapist.
While everyone is jumping on the foam rolling bandwagon, very few people are actually doing it right. When done right foam rolling can help you recover faster after a workout.
When done improperly you could actually end up doing more harm than good.
Here are 3 common foam rolling mistakes that most people make, and how you can correct them.
Mistake #1 – Using The Wrong Type of Foam Roller
The first thing you need to do is make sure you are using the right type of foam roller. There are several different versions in terms of size and firmness.
If you are new to foam rolling opt for a softer roller. This will give your body time to adjust to the stress that comes from rolling.
Once your body has gotten used to the stress you can invest in a firmer roller. Or, if you want something more advanced you can invest in a foam roller with spikes.
The more advanced options should only be used by an experienced athlete.
Making sure you have the right size roller is also important. The size you need will depend on the amount of space you have available and the muscle groups you plan on foam rolling.
For example, if you want to roll your hamstrings, which happen to be a larger muscle group, you will need a roller that has a wide diameter.
If on the other hand you want to roll a smaller muscle such as your calf muscle, a smaller roller would be the better option.
Which ever one you choose, make sure it is the one the fits your needs.
Mistake #2 – Foam Rolling Everyday
Most people are under the false assumption that more foam rolling is better. They believe the more they do it, the better their results will be.
This however is completely wrong.
You should treat foam rolling the same way you treat your gym workouts. When you hit a muscle group hard one day, you don’t turn around and hit it hard again the next day.
You allow it to rest and recover for a day or two.
The same concept applies when it comes to foam rolling.
After you have foam rolled you need to give your body a break so it can properly heal and recover. If you don’t give your body a break and continue to foam roll everyday, you will aggravate your muscles and cause inflammation and pain in the area.
A simple rule of thumb is to foam roll every other day. If you are still really sore after a day, wait another day.
The key is to listen to you body. If you notice you are still sore after a few days you may need to make sure you are using the proper technique.
Mistake #3 – Foam Rolling Too Fast
If you know anything about massage therapists you know they are very slow and deliberate when giving massages.
This is because they want to make sure they are giving each muscle the attention it needs to heal.
You should take the same approach with foam rolling. Most people rush right through it because it can be painful at first.
But if you want real results you will need to take your time. The most painful areas should get the most attention.
The purpose of any type of massage therapy, foam rolling included, is to release the tension and knots that often build up around your muscle cells.
It is therefore not a quick process. It takes time, sometimes several months, before everything is back to normal.
Rolling too fast may slightly increase the blood flow to the area, but it won’t provide lasting relief.
This is because when you roll too fast the fascia doesn’t get released. And in order for you to be pain free and fully functional the fascia must get released.
So here’s the bottom line. Don’t rush through foam rolling. Take your time so you can experience all the healing benefits that come along with it.
If you are short on time, instead of having a quick foam rolling session, postpone the time until you can give it your undivided attention.
A huge part of getting great results is being able to relax while you are foam rolling. If you have a time constraint you will be unable to relax.
Put foam rolling on your weekly schedule. Block out at least 30 minutes where you can just focus on nothing else but foam rolling.
Doing so will allow you to take full advantage of the many therapeutic benefits of foam rolling.