Got your attention? LOL! The F-word! In the studio, the F-word is “foam rolling”. HaHa, had you wondering didn’t I? Foam is a nasty 4-letter word if your muscles are tight or you have pain. You might even let out some other 4-letter words while you are foam rolling if you are tight! Foam rolling is a highly effective, yet non-pleasurable way to free your muscles!
Foam rolling functions to break up/loosen fascia. Fascia is connective tissue in your body that covers your muscles. If you are a meat eater, it’s the shiny white stuff (not the fat) that separates parts of your steak. Fascia is responsible for free movement of your muscles. If the fascia is tight or adheres to your muscles then you have aches, pains, and reduced movement. Because of that, the body will compensate to perform an activity and lead to other dysfunctions in the body. Your body is all connected so a dysfunction in one area will trickle into another area.
You may have heard me affectionately refer to your tight muscles as ropes or knots. According to Breaking Muscle, “Many times dysfunctional areas of fascia are referred to as knots, ropes, gristle, adhesions, and scar tissue. There aren’t actually knots and ropes under your skin. Instead, what we have is mal-alignment of tissue due to trauma and injury, poor motor patterns, and emotional distress. Releasing these tissues is simply creating a biochemical and mechanical change that will give us an opportunity to create more efficient movement patterns in the future.” Foam rolling helps release those “knots” and “ropes” through a process called self-myofascial release: fancy wording for painful self massage that leads to smiles!
In addition to loosening up your fascia, foam rolling also warms up your muscles. When you foam roll, you will see just how quick your body gets warm. Thus, foam rolling also serves as a warm up prior to exercise. I am introducing this concept to you now because it will be your new warm-up, muscle loosener, and overall “fixer” routine. We want to do everything we can to keep your bones and muscles moving the way they are supposed to, your body pain and injury free, and you as functional as possible EVERY day.
Watch these videos below to learn more about WHY you foam roll and HOW to foam roll. Try it before class the next time you come in. I promise that after a week (or two) it won’t hurt as bad!
This is another video with more details on HOW to foam roll your entire body.