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Utilizing the Foam Roll to Prevent Injury and Improve Performance

Foam rollers have been around for years and can be an integral part of your workout whether you are a pro athlete, high school star or weekend warrior. They can be found in most Athletic Training Rooms, Physical Therapy Clinics, Strength and Conditioning facilities and even your local gym. The rollers are shaped like a cylinder and come in many different lengths, densities and sizes. They are used for soft tissue mobilization or more commonly called self massage. The idea is to use your own bodyweight to apply pressure to a sore, tight or spasmed area against the foam roll. You can either focus on one spot or role the length of the muscle to help release the tension that has been built up during training, competition or daily life.


Utilizing the roll will assist in tissue flexibility therefore increasing your overall mobility as an athlete. This will allow the joints to move more freely and your body to get in the proper position during a training exercise or making that great play on the field, court or ice. The foam roll can be used on most muscle groups with the focus on the areas that are most commonly affected in your sport. You can use the roll prior to activity to help stimulate blood flow to the area and improve flexibility or after training to assist the muscles in recovery by reducing any tightness developed during your session. It is also beneficial to stretch the areas that were just rolled following use. The exercises can be used not only for healthy athletes, but injured ones as well to help reduce recovery time. Please seek advice form a certified Athletic Trainer or Physical Therapist on proper exercises to be incorporated into your rehab programs.


Getting started with the foam roll is easy. If you don’t have access to one, they can be found at most local sports stores or online for around $30. If you are a beginning roller, choose a moderate density roll as rolling can be sore and somewhat painful in the beginning. The harder rolls will last longer, but may cause too much pain which is not advised. Three commonly rolled areas are the Glutes, IT Bands (side of the leg) and Quads. Once you have identified the area to roll, make approximately ten passes back and forth over the area being massaged before moving to the next muscle group. Suggested use is one to two times per day for most individuals. Reduce muscular stress and improve mobility with your foal roll today. Happy rolling!