Self myofascial release aka foam rolling. These babies are a life safer in my household. Any time my fiancé and I have a tight or sore muscle we use these to “roll out” the muscle.
I am prone to trigger points in my back muscles which are basically sore, irritated spots in the skeletal muscle. They cause me to get headaches also. Usually after a cycle of heavy lifting I have aggravated muscles in one place or another. I find that foam rolling is extremely beneficial to help these muscles relax and get back to their original state.
The black foam roller pictured above is what I use when my muscles are really aggravated and I need the extra pressure on them. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that is sensitive to pain though. This is very painful on a sore muscle. I had to search on Amazon to find one of this size, they seem to be hard to come by. But they work.
If my muscles are too sore for the heavy duty roller or just tight I switch to my blue roller. The blue roller is a smooth roller and I can actually feel it adjust my back as I roll through it. I also use this one to roll out my IT band and adductors, they are sensitive areas for the black roller.
You can use these anytime but it is good to foam roll before a workout if your muscles are tight or you are having issues in a certain muscle group. For example a lot of people roll out their hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings before a heavy leg day to help prepare the muscles for strenuous activity. You want to make sure they are not tight going into a squat or deadlift. I also like to foam roll after a hard workout on areas that I know will end up being sore the following day. And then I foam roll when they are sore on that day 😃.
The best way to use these rollers is to slowly rock back and forth over the area that is tight or sore. You will feel it when you are in the right spot. Roll for at least 30 seconds on the area that needs it. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water when you are using SMR often. It is the same concept as getting a massage so you should stay hydrated.
I find these rollers to be one of the best fitness investments I’ve ever made! Although I’m not saying that massages or chiro visits aren’t necessary, a regular schedule of foam rolling will certainly keep the visits down and save you some money!