The foam roller, like traditional stretching, is a great tool for lengthening and elongating muscles. Its benefits are great for all athletes but most especially runners who often suffer from tight and fatigued muscles.
Instead of simply lengthening the muscle, a foam roller also massages muscles more intensely which can sometimes cause some discomfort. When used often and correctly, the foam roller can help runners avoid many sport-related injuries but is not a replacement for proper functional warm up, cool down, or stretching regimen.
Many injuries can be avoided through proper stretching and foam roller use and in some instances; a foam roller is better at preventing injury than rehabbing an existing injury.
Other Foam Roller Features and Benefits
- Can roll as long or as short as you like (I always recommend holding for 30 seconds over a trigger point area)
- Increases blood flow to muscles
- Helps to relieve muscle tension, especially after a hard workout.
- Increased range of motion
- Decrease recovery time by helping with muscle repair so you aren’t left feeling as sore and sorry the next day.
- You can control the intensity of foam rolling
Foam rollers can be done to essentially every part of your body, including:
- Gastroc and Soleus
- Low Back
- Lats and Traps
- Biceps and Triceps
For a great example of a foam rolling routine visit: