The real difference between the top performers and athletes in the gym isn’t necessarily what they are doing under the bar, on the track, or even the pool. It is what happens between workouts that ends up playing a huge role in how the next workout will go.
The gymgoer who kicks butt in the gym, and the athlete who dominates the competition is just as aggressive with their recovery and rejuvenation as they are with their practices and workouts.
And one of the top ways to keep yourself mobile and recovering like a boss is to spend some quality time with your foam roller. Here are just a few reasons that foam rolling should be a foundational part of your training.
1. It boosts recovery big-time.
As mentioned, high level athletes, and those that master their day to day workouts in the gym, are all about recovering as quickly as possible. Beyond just being able to recover more quickly, foam rolling and self-massage has been shown to boost central nervous system recovery.
2. Reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
We have all had those workouts where we limped out of the gym, completely destroyed. Spending just twenty minutes after your workout on a foam roller has been shown in numerous studies to speed up the evaporation of muscle soreness. While the crushing soreness that comes from doing leg day for the first time in months won’t completely go away, foam rolling will help you dial down the soreness so that you can go still walk down the stairs and sit without needing a spotter.
3. Increases bloodflow.
Another one of the neat-o things that foam rolling does is to incerase bloodflow, helping to deliver vital nutrients and minerals to muscles that desperately need it (i.e. the muscles that you just worked that day!). Rolling back and forth on the foam roller will also help to reduce arterial stiffness, something that is great news for those who need to massage or get more bloodflow to specific areas of their body.
4. Benefits of massage without the cost.
Seeing a local athletic therapist runs me anywhere between $90 and $180 depending on the length of the session. The foam roller is something that you pay for once, and pays for itself over and over and over again. It is literally like having your own personal massage therapist on call, at any time, any place.
5. Tag-team with static stretching for big jumps in flexibility.
Having massive amounts of power and explosiveness in your workout routines is one thing, but can you perform basic movements like bending over and touching your toes? How about hugging your knees to yoru chest? For many athletes and even the casual gymgoer, flexibility remains an area of serious improvement. Stretching as an activity is not terribly enjoying or stimulating. Foam rolling, and the myofasical care that comes along with it, is a more enjoyable way to kickstart big gains in flexibility, particularly when you alternate time on the roller with static stretching.
We all want improvement in the gym. We want to get the most from our workout routine. We want to get a little bit faster, get a little bit stronger, be a little bit less wrecked after each of those massive workouts, and ultimately, get more gains.
Injecting some time on a foam roller is apowerful way to achieve all of those aims, and best of all, is something you can do from home on your own time or at the gym bookmarking your workouts.