If there is one thing I do consistantly every single week it's foam rolling. It is easily the most essential piece of my workout recovery, I don't think I would still be running today without a foam roller.
In university I suffered with severe IT band pain. I was really into Triathlon at the time and spinning wreaked havoc on my ITs. It was so bad I couldn't run for three months without having to stop completely after 5-10 minutes. It was soooooooooo frusterating. I went to physio after physio, learnt different exercises to strengthen my hips and had several ultrasounds but not once did they ever mention foam rolling as a cure.
After mentioning my pain to a running friend he insisted I foam roll and actually went out and bought me one. I'd only seen the rollers a few times at the gym but I'd never tried. Once the roller arrived I hooped on expecting a massage-like feeling but instead felt intense pain all across my knee and hip I couldn't believe how tight my legs were. I was sweating after just two minutes of rolling.
After about a week of religious rolling (20 minutes each day, 2-3x per day) I felt like a new woman. I couldn't believe after months of physio and zero improvement something as simple as rolling my legs out could make all the difference. I swear by the roller now.
I explain to all my clients that we have fascia all over our bodies. The easiest way to think of fascia is like that thin transparent layer that covers a chicken breast – or the skin of an orange. When fascia gets thight it bunches up like a pizza dough and the only way to loosen the fascia is to roll it out. Fascia doesn't stretch like muscles – muscles have a muscle belly that will contract and relax where fascia is just a sheath that will bunch up.
Rolling will loosen your fascia which will greatly decrease risk of injury in your joints and it will improve your range of motion.
Which Roller is Right for You?
Deciding what foam roller is right for you is almost as important as a wizard selecting the correct wand … it can make all the difference.
White foam rollers: really only meant for people under 150 lbs. The foam will compress quickly and it won't be as effective once this happens.
Black foam rollers: the most dense pure foam roller. Durable and great value. My personal favourite.
The GRID: made with a hardcore centre with a foam coating. I like the GRID but I don't like it's size – too small to roll other parts of your body. They have a larger model which is better but honestly I think the black foam rollers are just as good if not better than this.
Accuball: Great for pinpointing specific areas of pain (hips, bum, back, etc.). This can work really well but it's also super painful!!
The Rumble Roller: The spikes on this roller are meant to penetrate deeper into your muscle tissue. In my opinon this is just a little bit too much and unnessecary. The pain you will have to put yourself through on this is just too intense and you won't want to do it ever!
The Stick: I carry this everywhere I go. It's an amazing tool for myofascial release and my clients all have a love-hate relationship with it. It's good to use because sometimes it's hard to put yourself through the pain of rolling