Foam Roller: Friend or Foe?

The OPTP Pro-Roller on the right is what I use. Image credit.

The OPTP Pro-Roller on the right is what I use. Image credit.

The foam roller and I have always had a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I just want to roll around on that guy all day long, other times I hide him in the laundry room, not to reappear for weeks at a time, but it is mostly the latter. Earlier this week I was doing laundry and saw the old guy shoved away in the corner. I decided it was time to give it a try again and was quickly reminded why I stashed him in the laundry room in the first place. That sh*t hurts! Who ever came up with the foam roller is obviously sadistic. The only problem is, I know how amazing it is supposed to be for recovery and want to make this relationship work. This old body can use all the help it can get. So, what is a girl to do?

I have been seeing some social media buzz lately from other runners who have committed to the “30-Day Foam-Rolling Challenge.” The general consensus is that dedicated rolling really has improved their recovery, flexibility, and sore muscles. The action of rolling your tight muscles back and forth on a dense roll of foam is supposed to resemble a deep tissue massage and help break-up scar tissue and improve flexibility. The fancy term for it is self-myofascial release. (Here is a great article on what exactly it is and how it works).

Since it is touted as one of the best ways to recover and heal sore muscles, what is there to lose? After talking it out with my foam roller, we decided we are in this together. 30 days. That’s it. If I still want to throw the guy off my deck at the end of the 30 days, at least I gave it a fighting chance. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

  • 10 minutes of foam rolling every single day for the next 30 days.
  • Spend 1 minute rolling each side of the following:
    • Quads – this one I actually like
    • Glutes – this one isn’t too bad either
    • Adductor – this is where I start to cringe
    • IT Band – more cringeworthy
    • Hip Flexors – most cringeworthy (which probably stems from an old running injury I had in high school)

It’s been a whole 2 days since I started and unfortunately, I am not seeing any changes in my attitude toward this torture system yet. I’m going to be consistent with this and will give you a recap of our relationship at the end of each week in the Week-end Rewind. In the meantime, let me know how you roll. Do you love or hate it?

One Comment on “Foam Roller: Friend or Foe?

  1. Pingback: Week-end Rewind: 6/8 – 6/14 | Running Primal

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