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Foam rollers: why do I need one and what do they do?

How-To-Use-A-Foam-RollerWhy it's worth investing in a decent foam roller

I came across Pulseroll at The National Running Show 2018 and was impressed from the offset. Pulseroll offer vibrating foam roller products, the first I’d seen, and really it’s genius. I’ve had to use foam rollers before, the static kind, and when you’re struggling with DOMS it can sometimes hurt too much to give it your all. I’ve instead opted to using a Theragun on occasion (they cost a small fortune but they are amazing, for those of you wondering!), and it’s virtually the same concept here; getting the muscles moving and the blood flowing.

What can a foam roller be used for?

A foam roller can help to release painful knots and stimulate blood flow – a handy performance and recovery tool to have in the home that can be used both before and after a workout, and even by those of you who aren’t too keen on working out.

The idea is that you self-massage over painful knots and tense muscles of your body, known as Myofascial Release, effectively giving yourself a deep tissue massage.

Foam rollers can be used for:

  • Injury prevention pre-workout
  • Recovery post-workout
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Chronic back pain
  • To improve your posture
  • Improve flexibility and range of motion

What’s the difference between a static foam roller and a vibrating one?

Foam rollers are really great, and if you don’t have a lot of money then a regular static foam roller will do just fine. They can be uncomfortable – especially if you’re knew to foam rolling or you’re in a lot of pain.

A vibrating foam roller will make the process slightly less uncomfortable. It will also go further in calming any tissue damage and getting the flood flowing back through.

How do you use a foam roller?

Pulseroll have a great ‘how to use‘ section on their website full of videos on how to use your foam roller depending on what muscle area you’re targeting.

A few suggested movements for warming up include:

Calves – sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place the foam roller underneath one calf and rest your other foot on the floor for balance, then use your hands to bring your hips off the floor, rolling from the foam roller from your ankle to the back of your knee. Do the back of your calves, as well as turning your leg inwards and outwards. Repeat on both legs.

Iliotibial band – This one requires a little balance and may take a few attempts to master. Lie on your side with the foam roller underneath you and close to your hip; for balance, cross your leg over and rest your foot on the floor. One forearm should be on the floor and the other should be helping balance you upright. Now you need to pull yourselves back and forth, rolling from your outer hip to just above your knee.

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