A huge thank you to Dr. Angela for running a Functional Foam Rolling clinic for LYNX on Saturday. One of the take home messages was the importance of assessments combined with home care. As athletes, being properly assessed for our current level of muscle function is step one. Then, with home care, which often consists of foam rolling techniques, we athletes are able to maintain the improved muscle function. Rolling with the proper foam roller, with the proper technique while in the proper body position can keep us ahead of injury. Being functional while training and racing allows for a lesser degree of injury risk as well as increased performance. As athletes, isn’t that what we all want?
We started the session looking at different types of foam rollers – there are many on the market! The one pictured on the right, above, is what is commonly found in gyms. It is foam and pretty soft. The one on the far left has a hard PVC center and then squishy foam on the outside. Both have fairly large diameters and are inconvenient to travel with. Yes, you can roll with these rollers, but in general, the large diameters and softer foam might make your muscles feel good, but will not provide a therapeutic effect to the muscle. Dr. Angela prefers the roller in the middle, the travel roller. The royal blue one pictured above is called the “4.3” due to it’s 4.3 inch diameter. She likes this one due to its smaller diameter, hard PVC center, and thin textured, cushioned outer layer. The outer layer of cushion can be removed for washing as well as to create a harder roller.
Once you have the proper roller to roll with, it comes down to knowing proper technique. In our session, Dr. Angela covered 3 common areas she rolls to help keep herself functional. She strength tested volunteers, showed them how to roll the targeted muscles properly, and then re-strength tested. All 4 volunteers tested stronger after rolling.
It’s important to note that people didn’t magically become “stronger” by rolling. They became more functional due to the muscle becoming less inhibited due to the rolling. Dr. Ryan Emmons, (Dr. Angela’s husband) created a fantastic foam roller app. to walk you through proper rolling technique. The app. can be found HERE. To see results, they recommend people roll 5 segments on the targeted muscle, for 5 seconds each, 2 times through, 2 times per day.
It was such an enlightening session today to learn how impactful a few minutes of rolling each day can be.
If you would like further information on foam rolling or treatment for reocurring niggles, Dr. Angela’s contact information is below.