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How to Get the Most Out of Your Foam Roller

New to foam rolling? If it seems complicated, not to worry. It doesn’t have to be. Let’s look at how you can get the most out of your foam roller.

Foam rolling is an excellent rehab tool that you can use to help not only overcome injuries but prevent them in the first place. For anyone training hard, foam rolling should be a regular part of your routine, with you performing it at least three to four times per week.

Foam rolling may seem daunting at times and if you’ve ever grabbed a random foam roller and given it a try, you may have found that it is excruciatingly painful. Remember though, there are some key things you need to do as you foam roll to make it more tolerable – and to ensure that you see the results you want from it.

Let’s look at a few tips to know to get the most out of your foam rolling sessions.

Choose The Right Density

First, make sure that you are selecting the right density of foam roller. Some foam rollers are a lot more firm than others, so if you are new to foam rolling, choose a lower density roller as this won’t be quite as painful as a firmer one.

Once you get used to that density, then increase it to the firmer one if desired.

Factor In Size

Next, also factor in the size of the foam roller. You want to choose a foam roller that is appropriate for the target muscle group you are aiming to work. If you are working a smaller muscle such as your forearm, for instance, a small foam roller – or even a tennis ball, can work wonderfully. If you are working your hamstrings, however, a tennis ball may be a bit too intense. Instead, go with a larger foam roller that has a much wider diameter.

Try a few different sizes until you find one that works best for you.

Pause And Roll

As you go about your foam rolling, if you do come across an area that is especially sore, you’ll want to pause and then slowly roll over this area, back and forth. Don’t go too fast.

You might even stop and just hold it on the area for 5-10 seconds. As you do, focus on breathing. It’s human nature to hold your breath when you are in pain as you may feel when using the foam roller. You want to avoid doing so however. Deep breaths in and out will loosen up the muscles, helping relax the tissue — which is precisely what foam rolling aims to do.

Don’t Overdo It

Finally, don’t overdo it. When you are just starting, aim to foam roll 2-4 times per week, no more. Then as you grow accustomed to it, you can start foam rolling 5-7 times per week for 10-20 minutes per session.

Foam rolling is just like any form of exercise or activity — it takes regular practice to get right and to see benefits from. Stick with it and be patient. You too will soon reap the rewards it offers.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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