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How to Foam Roll Properly - OrthoCarolina

By Staff, 06/25/18, 9:30AM EDT


Summer workouts are in full swing for our fall athletes, and with all that hard work comes a lot of sore muscles! You stretch and stretch, but it's time for a better alternative. Try foam rolling! "Foam rolling has become increasingly popular over recent years," explained the experts at OrthoCarolina. "Research has suggested that foam rolling may help reduce fatigue, improve flexibility, reduce soreness and even help decrease arterial stiffness." So, if you're looking for a better way to recover from those long, hot practice sessions, here are a few tips to consider before getting started:

SafetyAlthough foam rolling is safe for most people, individuals who have issues with decreased bone density or are prone to fractures should consult with their doctor prior to trying a foam roller.

Density: Make sure you find the right firmness, especially if you are new to rolling.  Individuals who are smaller or sensitive to pressure should start with a lower density (more ‘squishy’ roller).  Heavier individuals may need one that is more dense, or firmer.

LocationCommon areas to focus on are the iliotibial band, hamstrings, upper back and calf muscles.  Avoid rolling over the low back and use common sense over sensitive areas.

When to RollFoam rolling can be performed before or after exercise, and may augment the benefits of stretching.  Athletes and weight lifters often benefit from using a foam roller to help resolve post exercise muscle soreness.

TechniquesThere are several different foam rolling techniques you can try.

  1. Roll back and forth over a tight area.
  2. Keep the roller stationary and applying sustained pressure over a knot or trigger poin.
  3.  Use a “pin and stretch” technique where the foam roll stays stationary on a tight area while you actively move a body part through a functional movement pattern.

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