Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a “Texas born/California raised” actress and dancer turned fitness expert. With over 10 years of experience in the fitness and wellness industry, she has had the opportunity to teach and train all over the Southwest and Northeast however she currently lives in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@RADexperience) for more fun health and fitness tips! @RADexperience
If the first time you saw this black foam cylinder laying across the gym floor you said, “What is this packaging material doing here?” Then that makes two of us. But, don’t be fooled, foam rollers are one of the most valuable, inexpensive and versatile pieces of gym equipment out there today. So next time you see one, just “roll with it!”
What is a foam rolling? The best thing since massage therapists, foam rolling is a self myofascial release technique used to help release tension in your connective tissues. Simply put, when you go hard in the gym and your muscles feel tight and sore…foam rolling can help work out those kinks and knots. Foam rolling relaxes the muscle therefore allowing you to stretch in an extensible way.
How to foam roll? Foam rolling is easy as 1, 2, 3.
1) Identify where you are sore. Common areas are the lower back, upper back, hamstrings (back of the leg under your rump), quadriceps (front of the leg between your pelvis and knees), calves, inner and outer thighs.
2) Roll under specified muscle group until a tender spot is found. Take your time and avoid rolling like you are on a “slip n slide.”
3) Maintain pressure on the tender area for 30-60 seconds. This is the sweet spot. It will feel tight at first but really isolate that area and you will experience a pretty awesome massage!
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Foam rollers come in various sizes. The traditional size is 12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter. However longer foam rollers can be up to 36 inches in length (these are the ones you see in the gym). Another element to consider is density. Depending on your sensitivity to tension or experience with foam rolling, you will want to start with a softer foam roller. Often the color of the foam roller distinguishes the density. White=soft, Blue=semi hard and Black=hard.