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Foam Rollers Strengthen High Performance Athletes And Nonathletes

Updated on April 3, 2016
Foam rollers and tiger tail roller. (small red)
Foam rollers and tiger tail roller. (small red) | Source

Who Should Use A Foam Roller

Who should use a foam roller? Everyone who has sore muscles. Any kind of soreness be it from working in the garden, running a marathon or an injury can be helped by using a foam roller. . The foam roller can help release the restrictions of the fascia or thin connective tissue that wraps around muscles.

If you have a serious injury see a doctor. Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist who is trained in Myofascial release. This is a very good way to begin rehabilitation.

Everyone who is healthy should use a foam roller to keep themselves limber. Limber balanced muscles are strong and healthy which is especially important for competitive athletes,but certainly improves life for the rest of us.


Very Simple Anatomy Lesson

When you hear the word iliotibial there are two bones being put together. The first bone being referred to is the ilium. This is the bone from which the muscle begins. As you can see from the picture on the right the ilium is on pelvis. The second part of the term is tibial referring to the tibia which is where the muscle goes to. The tibia. The iliotibial band starts at the illum and goes downward toward the tibia and inserts into the tibia along the side of the knee.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is a form of physical therapy that has become popular with athletes and ordinary people to make improve balance, make muscles more supple, relieve sore muscles and recover from injuries. The key is to massage myofascial pressure points. The myofascial pressure points then release and relax the muscles allowing them to recover from exercise or injury. This can be done by anyone using a foam roller.

The Foam Roller

A love hate relationship occurred when first using a foam roller. Everyone loves the idea of eliminating muscle soreness and increasing muscle flexibility. Everyone hates the discomfort of the first time you use a roller.

When my trainer said," OK, here is how you use this foam roller". I trusted him, and tried to do exactly what he told me to do. I sat down on the roller and the pain was excruciating. I was stretching my Lilli-tibia band. Also know as the IT band, it starts in the illus and crosses the hip joint and descends down the leg to insert into the patella, tibia and biceps femoris. This band can cause all sorts of trouble with knees.. Bicyclist have very strong IT bands which is why my pain was so intense stretching the IT. When I moved it from my IT band to my back it felt wonderful. While the back massage was good there was no way I was going to use that thing on my IT bands. In a yoga class one day that annoying foam roller showed up again. I still couldn't use the thing. It hurt. Then then came the Pilates class. The sweet instructor said, If this is uncomfortable don't do it". Wouldn't you know, every single person in the room started doing exercises on the blasted foam roller. Not to be out done I laid down on the wretched thing. Balancing on it and using it to help balance wasn't bad. Then Sweet Pilates instructor taught very detailed techniques. . "If it hurts just stay there; breathing deeply until the pain goes away", In Pilates loud noisy breathing is good and tells the whole world you are in agony. Then she said, "When the pain goes away try rolling". Deep breathing makes all the difference when relaxing tight muscles.

Who Should Use A Foam Roller

Everybody should use a foam roller. Whether you are a high performance athlete, someone who sits at a desk all day or recovering from an injury you should be using a foam roller. Foam rollers massage tissue and ligaments to increase flexibility.Rolling the IT is painful because it is a narrow band that builds up scare tissue. When you roll you are helping your body to eliminate the scaring. The only other way to remove this scare tissue is massage. Reducing the scare tissue increases flexibility. Using a foam roller will uncover sore spots that you didn't know you had and eliminate them just like a massage. Using the foam roller along with massage is a good way to eliminate soreness, increase flexibility and help recover from injury. Everyone should use a foam roller.

Proof Video

Simple Way To Improve Strength

The foam roller is one of the simplest way to improve your athletic performance, relieve back pain and avoid injuries.

When you use the foam roller consistently it is apparent that you recover faster from strenuous workouts. Your performance increases and you feel better over-all. For some of us using the foam roller means the difference between back and hip pain and comfort.

Bicyclists have chronically tight iliotibial bands. The bands go from the ilium (broad upper portion of hip) to the tibia (the inner of the two bones that extend from knee to the ankle, also known as the shin bone). These band of fibers that muscles attach to need to be stretched and it isn't easy. The IT bands and hip abductors contribute significantly to chronic lower back problems. This is where the foam roller comes in handy. When starting with the roller you should use a soft one.

How To Use Foam Rollers

To Start

Notice in the video above the different colors of rollers. The gal just starting has a white roller and the trainer has the orange roller.

There are a variety of foam rollers. White is a very soft foam roller, black in a more dense stiffer roller. Blue is a harder more dense roller. There are rollers usually orange that have plastic hollow cores and are very stiff.

Styrofoam rollers available at Walmart are soft. If you have never used a foam roller you may want to start with an inexpensive soft roller. Begin slowly and breath deeply.

The rewards of rolling outweigh any exercise.. Foam rollers do just about everything a massage does with none of the expense.

After you have used your Styrofoam roller it will develop flat spots. Since you will have gotten proficient using the roller a firmer upgrade would be good at this time. A firmer roller will feel good as you work out knots and become able to gauge what you can tolerate.

Some people prefer The Tiger Tail or The Stick. These rollers are compact and great for traveling.

Preference and cost will be the key to which roller works for you. After sitting here this long it's time to start rolling. Want to join me? I hope so. You can watch Simone as you begin.


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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very interesting information about the benefits of using foam rollers. Had never hear about this approach before. I have a tight neck and shoulders a great deal of the time from hours spent at the keyboard, my day job and HP. :)

      I do some stretches and exercises a physical therapist gave me, but I need something more. Think I will get a foam roller. :) Thanks for the clear instructions about the various exercises. :) SHARING

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      b.Malin pleased to meet you. I need to get back to the pool. Aqua exercises are indeed excellent.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Interesting Hub on "Foam Roller Exercise", which I can say I've never tried. Exercise is so Important...We are big Walkers, and both of us do exercises in Pool water as well.

      I look forward to Following your Hubs, T.T.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Vellur and Pinkchick18 thanks for visiting.

      Its high seasons for athletes and these wonder rollers get lots of use. Hope you try these out. Being flexible makes a world of difference when it comes to staying healthy.

      Flexible is not my strong suit. I was 5'9" at 13 and have never had as much flexibility as I do 40 some years later. I am still 5'9", but that is another story.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I see these at the gym but I've never known how to use one. Thanks for the tips!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Interesting but never tried. Looks difficult but you never know till you try. Voted up. Thanks for sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      I've trained with triathletes that use these bad boys and they are believers, Thanks for stopping.

      Simone Smith gives amazingly detailed instructions in her video on shoulder exercises.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      I haven't use this before. I dont think our gym has this. Will ask the trainer when I go today. Thanks for sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Bob- Nice comment. Thanks for stopping by. My eldest is my trainer;he makes me roll to shut me up about back pain. Someone pointed out that he was almost 30 this morning and I thought I am not old enough to have a child that old. I refuse to be old.


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Heck, TT, I have trouble laying in bed!

      Be nice to have a machine with rollers in that rolls you!

      OK for the young and supple.