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INJURY MANAGEMENT

How and When To Use a Foam Roller

Mitchell Starkman, Physiotherapist, The Movement Centre
30 May 2018

A foam roller is an amazing tool for self-maintenance and care of your body! For some, it’s akin to having your own live-in massage therapist. When used the right way you can gain some serious momentum in your overall movement and mobility.

But how do I use a foam roller?

We’re so excited to get into the nitty gritty here and have a full video below for more information. We’ve broken things down into smaller sections to make it as easy as possible for you to get the information you’re looking for. Hope it helps!

How Much Pressure?

Well, first things first, determine the amount of pressure you can tolerate. As you roll on these tools it can be painful so it’s important to only add as much pressure as you can tolerate. More pressure isn’t necessarily better. For example, if you have a tight quadriceps muscle and you begin to roll on it using all of your weight, so much so that you are crying out in pain, this may have the opposite effect on your muscle. If you elicit a pain response, your muscle may actually respond by tightening up! We recommend you find your sweet spot at around a 2-3 out of 10 discomfort and – roll away!

 

What Technique Should I Use 

Generally speaking, we like the compression, shorten and lengthen model for foam rolling. This means that you are going to add on pressure (a 2-3/10 discomfort as discussed above) and then bring the muscle to it’s shortest position. Keeping your pressure, you are then going to lengthen that muscle throughout its available range of motion and feel the stretch underneath the ball.

For example, keeping with the quadriceps, the Quad Grinder is an amazing exercise using the foam roller to open up those quads. Here is a quick view of this video demo:

How Long Should You Foam Roll For?

We recommend spending a minimum of 2 minutes working on each target muscles to see some sustainable change.

 

Which Foam Roller Is The Best?

This is a big question and it often comes down to preference. That being said, we recommend the Trigger Point Roller because they are build to last! You can find cheaper ones, but these are our favourite.

Do You Currently Have a Injury?

If you currently have an injury, we are doing our best to create online physiotherapy programs to help you achieve your goals! You can check out all of our current programs and hopefully find one that helps!

We also have a ton of free resources to help you work through any injuries that you may be dealing with.  If there is anything we can do to help, or if you’re looking for some additional information we don’t have, please let us know!

Thanks for stopping by! We hope it’s helpful. For those that need more guidance, we’ve created a step by step online program to finally cure your shoulder pain! Use your promo code MOVE10 for $10 off your first program!

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Video Transcript

Some people prefer to read and we’ve got you covered!

Hey guys. Thanks for stopping by. Just before we get started I wanted to let you know about a free [inaudible 00:00:05] created for you guys today for download. What it is is the three pieces of exercise equipment you didn’t know you had at home and exactly how to use them. All you have to do is head down to the description below, click on that link, it’ll take you right to it. Or, head right to the website, physioready.com/equipmentathome and get started. All right so without further ado, let’s jump to the video. Thanks a lot.

Hey guys, this is Mitch with Physio Ready and we are talking about how to use a foam roller today. So we talked earlier about when you would use this trying to get a big, general area of a muscle, the quads, the upper back, the biceps, anywhere where you’re trying to get this big area. What you wanna do is roll … I’m gonna use my forearm here as an example, this works for any part of the body. You can roll it back and forth to get some good pressure and release on that. Just to get some good blood flow. But what I’d like to do after the blood flow’s kinda into that area is then put that pressure down and get some movement on one of the further away joints, so in this case my wrist. If I put some pressure down on that, I can move that up and down, back and forth on different angles. Remember my forearm is wide and spans the whole way so you wanna hit all these different areas of the forearm as you work this, not just one spot.

So if it was the quadriceps for example, I would wanna work here and work up and down the whole area. Same thing goes with my upper back or upper shoulder muscle. So that’s the premise of how I want you to use this. Generalize the pressure, it should be comfortable, not painful but you should feel some activation and some stretch going on.

 That’s the foam roller, have fun, and we’ll see you in the next video.

Hey guys, thanks for watching all the way to the end. Really appreciate it. Want to remind you one more time that free resource we have for you guys ’cause we appreciate you. It is the three piece of exercise equipment you did not know you had at home and exactly how to use them. All you have to do to download that is head down to the description below, click on that link. You can download it or head right to our website, physioready.com/equipmentathome and get started. If you haven’t subscribed, if you haven’t liked us, please do that, we appreciate that. Share away and we will see you in the next video. Thanks a lot.

 

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