Chances are, you’ve at least heard of foam rolling or seen a foam roller in the gym. (It’s that long cylinder that people roll their legs on while grimacing and cursing under their breath.) While foam rolling is not comfortable, it’s something that every runner should be doing. It gets into those tight spots and releases the muscles or trigger points (foam rolling is a type of myofascial release or self-massage). And it’s a lot cheaper than going to a massage therapist.
Need more convincing? Here are three of the major benefits of foam rolling.
Faster recovery. By loosening up the fascia (the dense tissue around our muscles and bones), our muscles can recover faster. Using a foam roller can also move out lactic acid that may be sitting in your muscles after a hard workout and increase blood flow.
Prevent Injury. Keeping the fascia loose doesn’t allow it to get tight and restrict mobility, which will give you a better range of motion and therefore help prevent injuries in the first place.
Get stronger. When your muscles are too tight, they can prevent you from being able to go deeper in exercises or stretches. If you have more flexibility, you can go deeper in squats and maybe even touch your toes!
With foam rolling, the more you do it, the more you will see the benefits. Good spots to start are your calves and hamstrings.