You are probably already familiar with that little gadget in the box that the coach makes you use from time to time.
That thing that without knowing too much about how it works we know that no matter where you pass it hurts.
Knowing the basics of when and how to use them will give you the skills to explore more techniques on your own and, more importantly, give you the confidence to practice them safely.
And why go through such an unpleasant experience? In this article we will see the sense of using the foam roller in CrossFit.
What is foam roller?
The foam roller is the English name for a massage roller usually made of foam. It is a very useful tool in the gym as it is very easy to use, it helps to maintain healthy muscle tissue and increase mobility. They may differ in shape and size but their purpose remains the same; relieve muscle pain and improve the quality of our soft tissues.
It is very common to find it in gyms but taking into account its advantages and how economical it is, it is also common to have one at home.
The myofascial technique
Let's start with the weird words we love so much at CrossFit.
This time we are not speaking in English but we are referring to the technique we use with this rigid foam roller.
This self-massage that we practice is known as myofascial self-release.
Self because we are ourselves using our own weight we are moving to pass the roller through an area of our body.
The treatment consists of applying these pressure maintained to release restrictions of the myofascial system with the objective of reestablishing its functionality.
What is fascia?
We understand the fascia as a network of tissue that envelops not only the muscles of our body, but also our bones and organs in a long, uninterrupted structure.. To function properly, it must be able to slide freely over the surrounding soft tissue.
How does the foam roller work?
The use of the roller is within everyone's reach as it is an instrument whose use is simple, intuitive and safe.
Its cylindrical design allows for smooth forward and backward movement along the desired muscle.
There are more than 600 muscles in the human body and each one has different functions.
All this muscle mass moves, contracts, lengthens and even grows day by day.
It is normal that it needs some pampering to function properly and efficiently.
When we subject ourselves to excessive postural or mechanical stress positions, the fascia can literally become stuck and adhere to itself or other nearby tissues.
Release "knots" or "trigger points".
These knots that are felt are localized adhesions of discomfort accumulated in muscle tissue.
Saying knots is a figure of speech because muscles can't be tied but the feeling is just that.
They are usually formed in the most congested and complex parts of our musculature..
It causes localized pain and may cause compensatory discomfort at other sites.
Knots are usually caused by sustained or sudden changes in muscle length. For example, a fixed posture at the computer can load the mid back or squats you do at the gym can leave knots in the hamstrings.
To relieve this tension and restore muscle function, we use the roller or, depending on the area, a duo ball (or lacrosse ball).
Tips for using the foam roller
The application of the roller is very simple. Here are some tips:
- It is sufficient to apply pressure on the trigger point and roll with the foam roller.
- Keep in mind that the area you want to release is your muscles. you should not apply it directly to a joint.
- Starts with fluid and sliding forward movements and back along the muscle to stimulate a circulation and identify any knots and adhesions along the way.
- The objective is to simulate a massage. If you are not a regular user of this self-massage technique, start by applying little pressure on your muscles and let the pressure build up. adaptation is gradual.
- You must drop your weight, controlling how much you want to drop, the more weight you drop the more intensity you will notice, if you drop less weight using more supports on the floor, it will be less intense.
- You will have to lend something more attention to trigger points or pain areasand to insist more than in the rest of the areas.
- It is recommended to start with a roller and then use a ball to insulate if necessary. The operation with the ball is the same, but the movements will be circular instead of back and forth.
- WarningKeep in mind that rolling may snag any part of you or what you are wearing. For example, if you have long hair, pull it back to avoid pulling. Or if you are wearing very loose clothing that could get caught.
If this is the first time you use the roller, it is normal that you feel a little bit battered. Don't worry, the sensation improves and in a short time you will feel more relaxed.
It will always hurt, let's not kid ourselves, but it shouldn't be unbearable. The good news is that with use, the quality of your tissues improves and tolerance increases because the signals you perceive from the brain are no longer new.
How long in each zone?
For general maintenance 2 minutes per muscle area is sufficient.
Slide with large strokes over the roller and when you find a trigger point insist a little bit more for 10-20 seconds.
Take advantage of the breath and inhale deeply, feeling that uncomfortable pressure. Then go back to long breaths.
When to use the massage roller?
A physical therapist will tell you "as much as you can". Surely we can all get a little better and try to use it a little more.
If you do CrossFit you will have seen that it is used on different occasions, both at the beginning of the session and at the end:
- Before traininghelps to improve mobility and release the areas to be worked in the session. It allows to reduce pain by activating the muscles with the massage.
- ThenThe Stretchable: works as an accessory in the return to calm and stretching phase. It helps with decompression, relaxation and pain reduction.
Out of training Rolling for general mobility maintenance and injury prevention can be done at any time of the day. It will help you release tensions that for example you have noticed during the day.
Even if it's lazy, shooting 5 -10 minutes while you're doing nothing, for example watching Netflix or watching Instagram. This will be much better for you than lying on the couch like a fig.
To try to make it easy, you can leave it in sight near the sofa, for example, to have it at hand and use it. We are aware of how easy it is for the foam roller to become just another piece of furniture... Try to remember how good you feel afterwards (during we already know that not so much).
Myofascial massage exercise guide
If you want to follow a guideline, here you have step-by-step explanation of roller exercises for different parts of the body.
The foam roller allows you to use the release technique myofascial in a cost-effective way.
For a relatively small outlay you can have a foam roller that employs a technique similar to a physiotherapist's massage. The physio helps you relieve muscle tension and release stubborn knots through physical manipulation of the tissue and the roller uses your own body weight to perform that massage.
It is a very useful tool like the use of an electrostimulator but it will never replace a professional who has a broader vision, knows how to interpret discomfort and diagnose injuries.
In fact, the financial benefits are long term. There is no doubt that the more you take care of yourself, the less professional help you will need and the more you will save on visits to the physiotherapist.
In addition, it is not a material that suffers wear, it is likely that if you buy quality you will have it for a lifetime. It also does not require maintenance.
Improves circulation through the skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments.
Circulation improves in both directions. In the supply of nutrients, and in removing waste. And so we shorten recovery times.
The more effective the blood supply, the better the exchange of nutrients and waste products of cellular metabolism and enlarged by physical stress.
If we can get our circulation to better access these areas that we need to treat, it will be able to regenerate them more easily. At this point it is also important to consider that our bloodstream must have those nutrients that we need to regenerate, for which it will be essential to have a good diet.
Correct certain mobility, flexibility and postural problems.
It is important to follow a stretching routine, even more so for those who suffer from mobility problems.
Some people have problems with shortening of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Genetic or underlying problem that is aggravated by repeated muscle work and no stretching exercises to compensate and reduce tension.
And as everything is related, a body that does not have limited mobility maintains its body posture better.
Reduces muscle contractures and injuries.
By applying the massage you can release those trigger points and greatly improve muscle tone. This helps us to prevent injuries.
Think of a material that is not flexible, it is much easier for it to break under pressure. The same thing happens with our body.
Improves stress levels.
The simple fact of dedicating a little time to yourself will help you to calm your stress. To maximize the benefits of massage, control your breathing, use deep breaths and try to relax.
Buy foam roller
There is a wide variety of rollers available and they are generally an economical material.
However, considering that it hardly suffers any wear and tear, I wouldn't even think about it, buy once and buy quality. You will not be able to save much money on this particular purchase.
Why I recommend the Velites pack
It's a complete mobility pack and I think it's a good choice in particular for these things in particular:
- It is double. It seems silly but I appreciate being able to choose between using a surface with relief or not. Depending on the area, on how I feel, I always have the less "hard core" option using the roller inside or the more hard core, the outside. In addition, the fact that the roller is not hollow on the inside means that it will not deform with use and will extend its useful life.
- Includes the lacrosse ball. With this you have everything you need for your massage and you don't have to worry about buying anything else.
- The size is compact. Its length is enough to do the massage and will not make too much of a nuisance at home, where we already have a lot of junk.
And this is in my opinion the best part of the foam roller but as you can see the pack includes even more useful resources.
Mobility Velites Pack
Uses the coupon ANABELPUMP and get a 10% discount.
The pack includes:
1 double Foam Roller
1 lacrosse ball
1 HD mobility course
2 Magma creams, 20 ml Polar
1 poster with 20 exercises for foam roller.
If you want to take your massages to the next level, the Hyperice Hypersphere Mini is the solution.
Since treating your trigger points with the lacrosse ball can be a little uncomfortable, the percussion technology Hypersphere Mini makes it a little more pleasant.
- press the central button for a few seconds
- use the button again to increase the vibration level (up to 3). Blue LEDs light up to indicate the level at which you are working.
- 3 LEDs indicate the battery level. Starting with 3 green LEDs indicating full charge, they turn to red to represent the decrease of energy.
- It is advisable to position yourself on the ground to use the Hypesphere Mini and turn it on once you are in position to prevent the ball from vibrating away from you.
- compact percussion therapy. Much easier to carry considering that you can hold it in the palm of your hand.
- more economical than a striker pistol.
- easily charged with a usb cable
- the battery can last up to 2 hours