LIFE

One Small Change Makes Foam-Rolling Recovery More Effective

Rolling back and forth is a no-no.

26/09/2016 7:09 AM AEST | Updated 26/09/2016 8:41 PM AEST
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Hold still, there you go.

In a world where sitting down all day is the norm, chronic back pain and achey muscles are nothing new.

In the last few years, more and more people have adopted the foam roller, a device that aids in muscle recovery by increasing blood flow and enabling more movement through the joints.

Kevin Toonen, founder of Strength Elite and Body Science expert explains while it is a positive thing more people are incorporating this type of active recovery into their training, many are using the foam roller incorrectly.

"First and foremost it's best practice to use the foam roller after a workout, not before, and make sure you are not rolling back and forth," Toonen told The Huffington Post Australia.

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Toonen said despite it being uncomfortable, we should be spending two to three minutes on the sore spots and not moving until that pain subsides.

"Randomly rolling back and forth is pointless. The idea is to find the sore spot, apply pressure and then go on to finding the next sore spot," Toonen said.

As for the type of roller you should use, Toonen said the softer it is, the less impact it's going to have.

"A PVC pipe, like the type plumbers use, is actually going to be more effective because it's a flat surface and there's no gaps or holes in it -- which means you won't miss any parts of the muscle or the fascia," Toonen said.

Fascia is the tissue that links the entire muscle system together.

It's best to do it directly after training, but if you are sitting down, say at the office or watching TV there's no reason why you can't be rolling a tennis ball under your feet, which will release your calves.

"When you are tight and there is stress in the muscles, you don't move as well. Therefore you're probably going to cause yourself more pain or injury because you're not moving the way your body is designed to," Toonen said.

For smaller muscles like your feet, hip flexors, shoulders or chest, Toonen recommends using a smaller ball or a cricket ball which will do the same job.

"In a perfect world, you would be releasing your muscles every day," Toonen said.

"It's best to do it directly after training, but if you are sitting down, say at the office or watching TV there's no reason why you can't be rolling a tennis ball under your feet, which will release your calves," Toonen said.

No matter what type of training you are doing, Toonen said we should be aiming for 20 to 30 minutes of rolling every day.

"Most people who use the excuse that rolling is too painful are the ones that need it most. The more you do it, the less painful it becomes."

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