Last week I gave a brief outline of what foam-rolling is all about, and a good warm-up and stretches for the legs, including the IT band, quad and hamstring. This week, I'm focusing on foam-rolling for back muscles, how exactly it works and some of the benefits.
How it works? Foam-rolling works by massaging the soft connective tissue that lies underneath the skin which bonds and connects everything from the muscles to the bones, blood vessels and tendons.
You will often notice if you have a sports massage how certain points may be sorer than others. A classic example of this would be your IT band, which runs down the side of your legs.
This pain you feel may be a result of the soft tissue becoming stuck together underneath the surface which may be caused from injuries, overuse, not stretching the body enough or simply pushing the body too hard.
What are the benefits? Exercise can induce micro tears in the muscle fibres, and over long periods of time, this can build up to result in something that is known as scar tissue.
You will have commonly heard of scar tissue associated with injuries caused by accidents, but pushing ourselves hard in workouts can also cause it.
Foam-rolling can can help break up scar tissue. It can also relieve muscle pain, improve flexibility, help with injury prevention, help relieve stress and help the muscles relax. It is ideal for massaging the IT band (especially useful for runners). How to choose
A FOAM ROLLER
You can choose a fairly inexpensive foam roller or a slightly more expensive type, like a grid roller.
You will still get great benefits from a cheaper foam roller but may need to replace it after a period of time as they can lose their hardness from overuse.