Using a Form Roller by Jo-Ann Prior

Written by Jo Ann Prior

What is a Foam Roller A foam roller is just a cylindrical piece of hard-celled foam, from 30 to 70cm’s long. And cost $25 and up.

Foam Rolling is a method of soft tissue mobilisation, and a form of self myofascial release (SMR) – basically self massage. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue may be affected as well, including other connective tissue.When the fascia becomes irritated, it becomes inflamed, leading to thickening of the connective tissues (fibrosis), which in turn causes reflexive muscle tension which leads to more inflammation.

Myofascial release (MR) techniques in this case foam rolling aims to break this cycle. As well as stretching muscles and tendons, foam rolling helps to break down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue.

Of course, a Remedial /Sports massage is a more effective (MR) technique.

How to Foam Roll

  • First, stretch / heat the area you are going to roll.
  • Position your body over the roller so that the area you want to roll is resting on the roller.
  • For beginners, expect it to hurt the first few times! Try and stick with it, you will end up feeling much better. BREATHE. Try to avoid rolling directly over bone and joints, stick to soft tissue. Start off slowly and work away from your core to your extremities (i.e. roll from top of quads towards the knee).
  • Gently apply pressure using your body weight on the area and roll back and forth over the area you are targeting.
  • If you find an especially painful area (trigger point) roll that area until the discomfort subsides. Focus on tight areas, and ones that you feel are quite inflexible.
  • Typically roll an area for 30-60 seconds, and repeat regularly until it becomes less painful to roll that area.
  • By using your own bodyweight, you can increase or decrease the intensity of rolling each body part.