Why (and How) To Use a Foam Roller: Foam Rolling for Beginners

The hype around the foam roller, explained. 

Hey friends! How did you enjoy the squat thrust workout yesterday? At least we’ve made it through Monday! Today I want to chat about an item that lives in fitness legend: the foam roller.

Walking into the gym, you see armies of people splaying themselves over them. Amazon sells more than 1500 different kinds. Every fitness website sings their praises.  Runners swear by them. Personal trainers recommend them.

But really. What’s the deal?! Despite all this, we may not necessarily know why or how to get started. If you’re anything like me, even if you know something is a good idea, you’re not going to jump into something new unless you have all the info. Keep reading 🙂

Why foam rolling is a good idea

We are a population full of muscle imbalances & a lack of flexibility. Whether it’s sitting in a desk all day for work or school, wearing heels, or carrying around a child, we do a lot of repetitive movements. Repetitive movements, injury, and our daily functioning can create problems we simply are not aware of unless we are assessed by a fitness professional. Regardless of your fitness level or goals, foam rolling can help your body stay functional & eliminate discomfort caused by daily life. It will help stretch your muscles and sooth sore spots.

As someone who is maintaining a fitness routine, foam rolling is also great for recovery. When we lift or do intense conditioning, we create tiny micro-tears in our muscles. This is totally normal, this is what allows our body to rebuild stronger and more efficient muscles. When our soft tissue remodels, depending on where the micro-tears are, sometimes leaves little knots, causing discomfort and soreness. Applying gentle pressure to these knots will help relax the muscle and help it recover. For context, these are the same knots that massage therapists massage out during a table massage! A

But why wait, when you can self-soothe at home?

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Puppy is optional.

How to foam roll

Even if you know it’s a good idea to foam roll, where do you get started?!

In general, it can be super simple. Every day, foam roll any sore or tight muscles that are causing you discomfort. As you are rolling, stop as soon as you feel a knot or an uncomfortable spot.

  • Hold the foam roller there for 30 seconds. This is the amount of time your body needs to relax the muscle.
  • Breathe into it and try to relax.

If you’re looking for specific guidelines, I’ve created a pin-able foam rolling guide for beginners below. You can use this little routine every day. This a general guide that is based on movement compensations I have seen in folks I’ve assessed and may not be applicable to your personal muscle imbalances.

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Although this is a great place to start, the BEST way to know what to work on is to be assessed by a personal trainer. If you’d like to work with me, please feel free to shoot me an email.

Do you foam roll?

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