Should you foam roll?

Foam Rolling for our ladies at Ladies Super Fitness!

Growing up in sports the importance of stretching before and after practice was always emphasized. Stretching was the only technique used as a warm up/recovery method. As I got older, I realized I felt like the stretching stopped helping and I needed something more. Towards the end of my senior year of gymnastics our coaches started encouraging us to foam roll. I didn’t know much about it and so I didn’t really do a lot of it. As I got into college and worked clinicals with the sports teams I noticed a lot of the athletes foamed rolled, this sparked an interest for me. Working at the gym I have also noticed that foam rolling is becoming incorporated into almost every workout plan that is written. This brought me to the question of what are the benefits of foam rolling?
Foam rolling is a method of myofascial release. It is used to increase flexibility, eliminate muscle soreness and to remove knots within the muscle spindles. In a very basic sense, you roll different parts of your muscle across the tube made of foam to warm up your muscles and keep them healthy. In a more advanced sense as your rolling you’re eliminating fascia restrictions. The fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that cases every organ, bone, tendon, and muscle in the body. The fascia is very sensitive so when it is what I refer to as “mad or angry” it will tighten up and restrict the movement of the muscle it is covering. This is a factor of muscle soreness and over time if not worked on can contribute to injury.
When you exercise you get what is called lactic acid build up in your muscles, this acid is what people will often describe as burning or discomfort in their muscles. One way to improve this discomfort is to allow the muscle to fire again and help the lactic acid flush out of your body, allowing the discomfort to subside. As mentioned above when you foam roll, you’re helping to eliminate the soreness of muscles, this is actually a combination of allowing the lactic acid to flush and loosen the fascia around the muscle spindle.
Foam rolling is a type of self massage, massages have been shown to have many benefits. Foam rolling helps to increase circulation throughout the body, increase oxygen to the muscles, break up knots and/or scar tissue, and relieves discomfort, soreness and stiffness. Because of these benefits, foam rolling allows for an increase in range of motion and flexibility. This helps our ladies with their overall fitness programs at Ladies Super Fitness. We strive to help everyone with their goals of weight loss, strength building, endurance, etc and foam rolling allows us a technique to make sure that they are giving their bodies what it needs to stay safe and healthy. Overall, the benefits of foam rolling are very obvious and is something I wish was introduced to me sooner. What’s great about Ladies Super Fitness, is that all the trainers can help you incorporate this into your workout to maximize your results!

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Karlie Lehman, LSF Intern