foam roller stretches / what does foam rolling do / how to use a foam roller
Studies show that a minute of foam rolling can boost your range of motion and it can also relieve you of soreness within two days after doing it when you do an intense workout. This has made most fitness trainers recommend foam rolling stretches before a workout.
A lot of people have the notion that foam rolling steamrolls the muscles, break up any scar tissues available and then lengthening all muscle tissues. There’s actually a problem: research has shown that it usually takes about 2 hours or more for foam roller stretches to lengthen the muscle tissue or break up scar tissue. This process is actually a painful process with foam roller stretches hitting sensitive areas, however, won’t put you in pain.
So, if foam rolling doesn’t alternate the muscles physically, then what does foam rolling do?
A muscle feeling tight and being tight are two different things. Feeling tight can be related to toning of the muscle while being tight is the shortening of muscle tissues. When most people feel tight, they actually have excessive muscle tone.
In understanding muscle tone, just assume that your muscles are guitar strings. It is normal for the nervous system to tighten the muscles to prevent you from getting to what it would perceive as a potentially dangerous position depending on factors such as stress and perception of threat. If the nervous system feels that a particular movement or position is dangerous, it sends a message to the brain that it should stiffen the string of the guitar while if there’s no danger, it loosens it. It’s similar to the tuning of the guitar string which doesn’t physically change but gets tighter or looser, which produces a different tone.
When you do foam rolling, it sends an OK signal to the nervous system which makes the brain free up the tone of the muscle, which is similar to the loosening of the guitar string. This is the reason that there is more range of motion from just a few seconds of foam rolling.
If you know to use a foam roller, then you are in the best position to achieve a better range motion which will make you become stronger in such extended range. Eventually, your body begins to adapt to that deeper range, which makes you reach the range sans-roller.
Where there would likely to be a problem is if you require using the foam roller to get into a particular position whenever you have to lift or do sports. This is because if your nervous system keeps giving a particular muscle so much tone, there is an underlying issue behind it. After all, the tone is protection. Too much tone delivered to a region for a long time could make the tissue adapt physically and make it shorter. Shorter muscles would certainly lead to injury.
It is very important to know what foam rolling stretches does to the muscles or else its purpose would be defeated.