When you finally manage to peel yourself off of the couch and get your lazy ass to the gym, the training you endure can create knots in your muscle tissue. You probably refer to these occurrences as “knots," which is exactly what we just referred to them as. (It's when the fascia, a superficial layer of skin bunches up). Well, using a foam roller can be an amazingly awful way to rid yourself of these tissue entanglements.
Of course, getting the kinks out will be painful while it happens, but feel amazing afterward. Think of it as an alternative to paying some woman with enormous mitts to give you a massage. Plus, you're in control of how much pain-to-pleasure you experience while rolling.
Use the roller pre- and post-workout. Prior to your dynamic warm-up — that's when you'll do things like use bodyweight movements that mimic the movements you'll do in your actual training routine — roll on the areas in which you’ll use for about a minute. This can also help you identify any tender, weak, or compromised areas to keep tabs on while you train.
When you're done with your workout, roll again. And roll before you stretch. Remember that superficial layer of tissue we talked about earlier? Well, rolling post-workout can help prevent that from happening. Plus, doing so can enable you to achieve a better, deeper stretch.
Benefits of Foam Rolling
#1. High-Density Foam Roller ($8 and up @ Amazon.com)
Nothing wrong with sticking with a basic roller … and there isn't much else to say about it. Roll on it in an open space on your floor, and then stash it in a broom closet when you're done.
#2. HyperIce Vibrating Foam Roller ($200 @ Amazon.com)
This will shake, rattle, and roll your bones as you roll. It's a more intense experience than a basic foam roller but that's what it was designed to do. Another Kickstarter success story, the HyperIce is ideal for hardcore guys who do things like CrossFit or strongman competitions, or participate in fight clubs. Getting one will cost you a decent chunk of cash, but well worth the money.
#3. The Travel Stick ($27 @ Amazon.com)
Don't let it fool you — this is no ordinary stick. Apply pressure as you roll it along your quads, calves, or lats (while lying on the floor) and you'll be in so much pain/pleasure. Great for travelers or people who like pretending they own small baseball bats.