“Consistency with rolling out is one of the most effective ways to improve the appearance and function of your body.” – Ashley Borden
Foam rolling is one of the top things (after good diet & exercise) that I recommend doing if you are looking do get rid of cellulite, flatten out your stomach, prevent or fix a strained muscle, increase metabolism, improve recovery after workouts, and/or improve your physique.
Personally, I foam roll (or roll out) 2-3 times a week after my workouts for 5-10 minutes — before workouts is also fine, but I prefer to cool down with it. I also roll out for 20-30 minutes on my ‘rest day’ (since not going to the gym is difficult for me) after some mild cardio to get some blood flowing to my sore muscles & massage away the pain.
Foam Rolling has made a big difference for me, so I hope the following will help you to understand what foam rolling is, it’s benefits, and how it can help you reach your goals.
What is Foam Rolling?
Foam rolling involves using a foam roller, PVC pipe, or tennis ball to roll over your body in a way that creates a myofascial release. It is also called a Poor Man’s Massage – it has very similar benefits to getting a deep tissue massage daily without the $80 cost!
- increased metabolism – by improving oxygen flow all over your body — the more oxygen your body uses, the more calories you burn 🙂
- improving circulation – loosening the fascia and muscle of your body increases blood flow
- improved aesthetics& muscle definition – decreases cellulite & helps you train harder more frequently to increase your muscle/lean body mass
- better gluteal activation and other muscle activation in exercise,
- decreased muscle soreness,
- improved flexibility,
- decreased cellulite appearance,
- decrease of pain in back/knee/foot, and more…
In order to understand how foam rolling works, and why it’s so effective, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of muscle fascia.
An Introduction To Fascia
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that encases your body under your skin like a wetsuit and actually wraps itself around every muscle, joint, and organ. If you’ve ever cut into a piece of raw chicken or steak and seen that thin, white, filmy layer, then you’ve seen fascia.
Skeletal muscle is made up of many bundles of individual muscle fibers held together by fascia. Not only are the full muscles themselves surrounded by fascia, but each individual muscle fiber is also surrounded by fascia. Look at the diagram below to see how fascia pervades the entire muscle:
“Imagine that you can tap a grapefruit with a wand and make all the juice disappear. What’s left is the pulp and the flexible fibrous webbing that separates the sections. Both of these are the fascia. The webbing is like the fascia that separates one muscle from another. The pulp represents the fascia intertwined with muscle fibers and blood vessels.”
Fascia has a gelatinous texture and holds water like a sponge. In fact, 70% of fascia is made up of water, and the more water you consume, the more gelatinous your fascia will be. Healthy fascia is soft, hydrated, and flexible, and can take an incredible amount of pushing, pulling, and compression without being torn apart.
You can think of fascia as a web that connects our entire body, from the bottom of our feet to the top of our heads. This is a key point to understand. It explains why the source of pain is often not in the location where the pain is actually felt.
Muscle Knots and Pain
We’ve all had muscle knots before, areas of concentrated tightness in our neck, shoulders, etc. These knots are really bumps and lumps in the fascia – tightly contracted muscle tissue – also known as adhesions or trigger points. These adhesions cause the fascia to become tight, rigid, and stuck. They create restrictions in movement by disturbing the balance between muscles. Tight fascia also compresses the nerves and inhibits neural feedback, leading to additional muscle weakness and pain.
When these adhesions are released and the fascia is able to function properly again, you’ll see an almost immediate improvement in mobility. And if you have any type of musculoskeletal pain, there’s a good chance that myofascial release is the answer you’ve been looking for. When people start to actively take care of their fascia, they often remark at how much younger their bodies feel.
How does foam rolling work? Imagine this knot as your muscle —
The knot in the middle of this rope is your troubled area. If you were to pull on either end of this rope what will happen to that knot? It may get smaller but it becomes even more tighter and bound up. This is what stretching can do in these situations. When you foam roll you are actually rolling over that knot over and over pumping fresh blood in and out of the area with every roll. Eventually that knot is going to work itself open to where the pain is no longer there.
Because all of our muscles are connected throughout the body, fixing one area often helps diminish pain in other areas. For example, I felt pain in my back, but it was from strains in my calves/hamstrings. Once those areas were rolled out, the back pain subsided as well!
One of my favorite parts of foam rolling is it helps flatten out your stomach when you release your hip flexors and piriformis. When those are tight, it causes a lower stomach pooch no matter how lean you get.
How do I foam roll?
I discovered foam rolling from a trainer in L.A. Ashley Borden in an article I read in women’s health about 10 years ago. She has a ‘FREE PDF Foam Rolling Guide’ that I use on my own to roll out with, and she also has a YouTube video that you can check out and foam roll along with her.
Other Key Ingredients to help Keep Your Body Healthy, Diminish Cellulite, & flatten your stomach
1) HYDRATE – Drink at least 3 Liters of water a day to supply your fascia with all the water it needs so it remains flexible. Water helps you flush out toxins from your body, staves off hunger, energizes your muscles, & helps your body function at the optimal level.
2) SLEEP — Sleep is essential to helping your brain, body, & muscles recover correctly, It also helps reduce appetite/cravings (by balancing out hormones leptin and ghrelin), improves your body’s ability to burn fat (instead of muscle), & helps increase your energy during the day & in workouts.
Hope you have a great day!
Happy Rolling! Here’s my favorite song to Foam Roll to 🙂
These sites were the Sources used for the above information. They are really informative if you are interested in more information: