When hitting the gym, try to think of it as a rock and roll session. The first part should be a rocking fitness section, packed with resistance training (muscle conditioning exercises) and interval training cardio (heart health exercises).
Then the roll part, where the foam roller comes out and the muscles are stretched back to their pre-exercise state. Foam rollers are now a gym staple but often people walk straight past them. Why? Either they simply don’t know how to use them or think they look like a piece of kit that only athletic types would use.
If you were able to get a deep tissue massage at the end of every training sessions, you would jump at the chance. Well, step into foam rolling. It is a muscle massage with astounding benefits – injury prevention, avoidance of painful muscle knots, improvement of circulation – and, stress relief. They are so easy to use and it is pretty difficult to do any damage with them. So here are some basic foam rolling movements which will revolutionise your flexibility and training.
Warm muscles – the best time to stretch is when the muscles are warm, so post exercise is perfect.
Stretch – still have a stretch to initially kick off the muscle strengthening. Foam rolling is not a stretch substitute, it is the icing on the cake for flexibility.
Hit the Floor – find a space where you can easily move around and be prepared to get yourself into some funny positions. Place the roller under the muscle you want to target, working from the centre of the body outwards, roll your body weight back and forth. If you hit an uncomfortable part in your muscle, stop and just allow your body to rest.
Feel and Focus – initially it may feel a little tender as you are starting to release tension and muscle knots but this will reduce the more you roll. Focus on the tighter muscles to begin with, and then work on the other muscles to ensure to ensure the whole body feels lengthened and balanced.