Foam Rolling For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon
Take a look at 10 positive changes you will notice with your body when you add foam rollers to your daily wellness routine.

As you become more flexible, more active, stronger, and healthier, your body will change. As you fight age, gravity, illness, and stress, your body will change. Change is inevitable in life. But you don’t have to play a passive role as your body changes. Taking constructive actions can positively influence how your body changes. These positive active steps include a healthy diet, more exercise, drinking more water, getting more sleep, stretching more, regular medical exams, and the daily use of rollers.

Roller treatment for a tight calf Photography by Haim Ariav & Klara Cu

Roller treatment for a tight calf.

Looser muscles

With less painful trigger points and more mobile myofascial tissue from using rollers, your muscles will have less tension applied to them. We’ve been programmed our whole lives to think if our muscles feel tight, they need to be stretched to release the knots. I can still hear my college track coach yelling at my middle-distance runner teammates and me: “Stretch, stretch, stretch!” Question: If you have a knot in your shoelaces, will stretching the shoelace make it better or worse? Obviously stretching the shoelace will make the knot tighter and harder to release. Stretching a tight muscle will have the same effect.

Rolling allows a tight muscle and fascia to stretch and elongate sideways without adding tension to an already tight muscle. Rolling reduces the pressure being cinched down on the tight muscle by the surrounding fascia and the muscle itself. It’s like taking duct tape off your muscles, allowing them to stretch in multiple directions as they were intended to do.

Increased joint range of motion

Muscles move joints. Therefore, when your muscles become looser following roller treatments, your joints will gain motion. The post-rolled muscles can move the joint through greater ranges because the muscles are now stronger. In addition, the rolled muscles stretch with less resistance when muscle on the opposite side of the joint are contracting.

Less effort to move

Looser muscles plus More mobile joints equals Less energy needed to move those muscles and joints. Using a roller frees restricted fascial tissue. This reduces the pressure being applied around the muscles, similar to taking off tight jeans before running five miles. It immediately reduces the effort needed to complete the five-mile run.

Smellier urine

This isn’t a typo. Stream rolling your muscles with rollers will assist the muscles’ ability to rid themselves of toxins and waste products. Those waste products are the normal by-products of hard-working muscles. Thanks to the rollers, your lymphatic vessels become less restricted. The lymphatic system, an important waste-product drainage system for your extremities, can now easily drain the extra muscle-waste products into the bladder to be added to your urine.

As you will soon notice, the smell of your urine after using a roller will be stronger. That’s kind of gross, I know, but it’s a good thing to know. Would you rather have those strong-smelling toxins remain in your muscles or in the toilet bowl?

Faster warm-up

I love to work out early in the morning. It’s cooler here in Florida, the kids and dogs are still sleeping, and I can easily slip onto the plush golf courses to run without being cursed and run off the greens. But early rising means an early warm-up. (Ugh!) A 5:00 a.m. warm-up isn’t too inviting. But the roller is the perfect early-morning warm-up partner for three reasons:
  • The roller hurts, so it wakes you up fast.
  • The roller is easy to use, so you don’t have to think too much as your body and brain come to terms with the fact that you’re no longer in your warm bed.
  • The roller is fast, so it reduces your warm-up time to mere minutes.

Less pain and injury prevention

By helping your muscles to loosen up, your joints to increase their range, your body to move with less effort, your muscles to eliminate more of their waste products, and your warm-up to be more consistent, the roller helps you move and feel better. And with all those previously mentioned benefits, you’ll have a reduced likelihood of pain and prevented injury.

Tight muscles and compensations both during workouts and through your busy day are painful but, thanks to your rollers, they will be a thing of the past!

Increased muscle strength

When a muscle concentrically contracts, its muscle fibers shorten against a force while its opposing muscles lengthen. A muscle in pain and restriction cannot optimize its performance. Neither the muscle nor the brain will allow a strong muscle contraction if there is the threat of bodily harm. Envision what happens when you accidently step on a sharp object while walking barefoot. Your quad and calf muscle immediately turn off to reduce the pressure on your threatened foot.

With the help of rollers that reduce the influence of painful trigger points on those muscles and that loosen surrounding myofascial tissue, the muscles can naturally generate a stronger contraction.

Improved posture

When the troublemaker muscles — the pectoralis minor in the chest, the latissimus dorsi in the back and shoulder, and the hip flexors — are overly tight and strong, this tends to create poor posture. The solution is easy: unlock those muscles and strengthen their opposing muscles.

Better muscle mobility, length, and strength on both sides of your body will translate into improved posture.

Faster recovery

After a hard workout or a hard day at work, your rollers will accelerate your recovery. Your muscles will be tired and stiff from the long day. Allowing the rollers to work their magic for five to ten minutes will help flush out the bad stuff (inflammation, lactic acid, and damaged blood cells), while allowing the good stuff (fresh blood and water) to easily enter the fatigued muscles. Mechanically, the roller steamrolls through the muscles, fascia, skin, fat, and all the fluid throughout the soft tissue. That alone will help your body to recover faster after a busy bout of work.

Better sleep

I’ve only taken one sleeping pill in my life; my sleeping secret is my roller. It’s true, as my wife will confirm. I do two things every night before I put my head on my pillow, with an average fall asleep time of approximately two minutes:
  1. I roll my legs and hips.
  2. I get on my knees to pray and express my gratitude.
Think of all the physical benefits you will gain from rolling. Now imagine creating all those positive changes — like looser fascia, longer, more relaxed muscles, and less waste products — in in your legs and hips. But then, immediately after you unlock you muscles, you just climb in bed and sleep.

Think about this for a minute. Instead of only using the roller to make those muscle and fascia changes before running down the road, lifting weights, or playing a hard game of tennis, imagine if you used your new roller self-myofascial unlocking skills to relax all your muscles and fascia?

The result: Your body is perfectly prepared for 8 hours of uninterrupted recovery time while you sleep like a baby. Give it a try.

About This Article

This article can be found in the category: