Foam rolling has really gained popularity in the last year. Runners, weight lifters, regular exercisers and even not-so-regular exercisers are all using foam rollers to try and alleviate tight, sore muscles. This technique uses a foam roller and your body weight to apply direct pressure to trigger points and tightness in muscles. Foam rolling can create great results but only if used correctly and for the right conditions. To avoid aggravating your condition or creating a new injury follow these Do’s and Don’ts.
- Do roll slowly. Use short, slow rolls over sore spots.
- Do use good form and correct posture when rolling. For example, when rolling your IT band, you should be holding a plank position—without sagging hips or twisting of the spine.
- Do pause and relax over sore areas. Give your body time to adapt to the compression.
- Don’t roll over bony points. Areas like the neck, low back and the ischial tuberosity (the bones under the flesh of the buttocks that you sit on) should be avoided. Muscles, ligaments and tendons attach to bones. Repetitively rolling over boney areas can stress these soft tissues, causing them to contract to protect these vulnerable areas.
- Do listen to your body. Foam rolling tight muscles can be uncomfortable but the pain should not be unbearable. Back off the roller by using less body weight or move to less sore areas around the tight spot. It is about returning proper function to your muscles—not a pain tolerance test.
- Don’t spend too much time on trigger points and knots. 20 seconds on each tender sport is sufficient. Sustained pressure on a body part can aggravate the nerves and soft tissue in the area and can even result in bruising.