Meet your new best friend…

Body, meet Foam Roller. Foam Roller, meet Body. You two are going to get along just fine.

The Foam Roller is one of the GREATEST THINGS EVER INVENTED for active people. Do you like to work out? Are you a runner? A cyclist? An athlete? Do you move? Yes? Thought so… chances are you need a foam roller. Why? Because it keeps your muscles/fascia happy, and once you do it, you’ll be a little bit addicted.
The foam roller is a great tool because:
a) it’s cheap (find one for around $20 online or at your local sports equipment retailer)
b) your muscles and fascia get really tight and knotted up and need to be worked on in order to perform their functions effectively and efficiently.
c) it’s a LOT less expensive than getting a sports massage every week.
SMR – Self Myofascial Release
I could go on and on about the science behind Myofascial Release (rolling out the kinks in your body) but I’ll save you time. Read this definition and this article …and this one is good too. Think of your body (muscles/tendons/fascia/etc) as having parts that look like crumpled up pieces of paper and the foam roller as a giant rolling pin ready to smooth them out so they can work properly.
Which one to get:
All foam rollers are a little bit different. The white ones are a little softer and I’d recommend these to anybody just getting back into working out or are new to foam rolling. The only drawback to the white ones is they tend to losr their shape quickly if you’re using them a lot. When they lose their shape, they don’t really roll anymore. Think: square rolling pin. So… that’s something to think about.
The black ones are a lot harder so they’re going to be a little more intense. But they’re also more durable.
Most other colors, (blue, green, purple) are right in the middle. If you’re in the store with them, you’ll be able to feel how hard they are. These are probably the best bet for most people.
How to do without hurting yourself:
If you know/have a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, they can help you with the correct form for different exercises and stretches. Don’t have one of those? Find a trainer at your gym that knows about foam rolling. They can show you a few things. Or check with IDEA Fitness Connect (online database of certified trainers) to find a trainer in your area that could help you out safely.
A couple of books that talk about Foam Rolling:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Functional Training has a great section on foam rolling. Buy here. Written by Justin Price, MA, and Fraces Sharpe.
The IMPACT! Body Plan has one too! Written by Todd Durkin, MA. Buy here.
Both are written by friends and colleagues of mine that are the BEST at what they do. Trust.
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  1. My husband is obsessed with his foam roller! It makes a nice addition to our living room decor 🙂

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