With the Dublin City Marathon only over a month away, participants will be into the final weeks of training and preparation and will want to feel 100% before the 26.2 mile event on the 30th of October. In our last blog we talked about soft tissue massage, its effects on both recovery and preparation and when is the best time to get one. However in this busy time it may not be possible to make it to a therapist to avail of these services and a great way to look after your muscles yourself is through foam rolling.
In the last 10 years foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, has become a popular self-massage method used by both amateur and professional athletes to aid with recovery and performance. A foam roller is cylindrical in shape, has a diameter of roughly 6 or more inches, can be short, long and either smooth or jagged. The density of the foam roller can also vary from soft to standard to firm density.
Foam Rolling is done by applying firm pressure to the soft tissues of the body one area at a time, and releasing the tension and tautness within these structures.The athlete uses their bodyweight to apply pressure to the soft tissues during a rolling motion with the foam roller placed between the ground and the muscle group to be released. If a spot of increased tenderness is felt, known as a trigger-point or ‘knot’ in the muscle, the athlete should maintain pressure on this point for a few seconds until the tenderness decreases and then continue rolling along the whole muscle group.
The benefits of releasing these structures using this method include increasing oxygen flow to the tissues, aiding with removal of waste products and relaxing tight muscle fibres or trigger points. All this in turn increases range of motion, improves flexibility and reduces pain and fatigue which leads to an enhanced performance and quicker recovery between events and training sessions.
There is a lot of debate in regards to the amount of time to spend foam rolling, with figures ranging from 20 seconds to 20 minutes, however the most optimal times in the research have been found to be 2-5 minutes on each muscle group, depending on the amount of tautness and trigger points felt within the muscles. Foam rolling can be done on your rest days as part of your active recovery and stretching programmes.
All in all, foam rolling is a cost-effective method for both professional and recreational athletes and can be easily done at home even while you watch TV.
Foam rollers are available from Athboy Physio and Sport Clinic with prices ranging from €15-25 depending on size. All our foam rollers come with an information and instruction leaflet and videos can also be sent to your e-mail if needed. Check out our easy demonstration video on our Youtube Channel by clicking on the link below and why not have a read of our recommended reading list for up to date research.
Youtube Link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLWQgd7sG5k
Recommended Reading List and References:
-Cheatham, S. Kolber, M. Cain, M. Lee, M. (2015). THE EFFECTS OF SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE USING A FOAM ROLL OR ROLLER MASSAGER ON JOINT RANGE OF MOTION, MUSCLE RECOVERY, AND PERFORMANCE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 10 (6), p827-838.
-Healey, K. Hatfield, D. Blanpied, P. Dorfman, L. Riebe, D. (2014). The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 28 (1), p61-68.
-Junker, D. Stoggl, T. (2015). The Foam Roll as a Tool to Improve Hamstring Flexibility. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 29 (12), p3480-3485
-Pearcey, G. Bradbury-Squires, D. Kawamoto, J. Drinkwater, E. Behm, G. Button, D. (2015). Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Journal of Athletic Training. 11 (1), p5-13.