While we are advocates of the foam roller, we’ve seen hesitations and myths surrounding this fitness tool. Fitbie spoke with New York-based sports medicine physician and author, Jordan Metzl, MD about the top foam rolling myths. Below we share these debunked myths and offer ways you can start incorporating foam rolling into your everyday routine:
Myth: I stretch, so I do not need to foam roll.
Stretching before and after a workout does help to prevent soreness and injuries however, foam rolling does even more. Not only will you work out discomfort and muscle tenderness, you’ll also improve muscle flexibility better than stretching alone. From the active or inactive, the young or the old, foam rolling can help everyone. Jordan Metzl recommends foam rolling before and after a workout. However, if you only have time to do one, after a workout is better.
Myth: I shouldn’t foam roll because it hurts.
“It hurts so good” is a common phrase among foam rolling enthusiasts. Foam rolling can hurt but it gets better with time. One study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises found that participants who used a foam roller on their legs for 20 minutes after a squat routine experienced half the soreness with greater range of motion than those who did not. The more you use a foam roller, the less painful it will be.
Myth: It does not matter how fast I roll.
While moving quickly through the exercises may hurt less, rolling out slowly will provide the most benefit. Metzl states, the idea is to release the muscle. Find a tender spot and slowly press into the area, rolling out the kink in short movements for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue to roll in larger sweeping motions to work out more of the muscle area.
Myth: I can roll out everything!
While there are numerous benefits of foam rolling, they do not apply to every part of your body. Avoid bony areas such as the knee or the outside of the hip, advises Metzl. The most popular places to use a foam roller are the glutes, lower and upper back, IT band, hamstrings, calves and quads. Try these exercises to target these areas.
Myth: The type of foam roller I use doesn’t matter.
There are a number of different types of foam rollers on the market. It’s important to determine which one is right for your needs. With our Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers you’ll get a deep release and stretch. It can also be used as a body cushion and support. The Grid is great for traveling and the grooves add an even deeper stretch and massage. A rule of thumb to remember: the higher the density, the more intense the massage.
Visit your local Relax The Back store to try our selection of foam rollers and speak with one of our trained specialists. They can help you find a foam roller fit for your needs.