Posted on July 18 2018
Because I have chronic pain, Muscle Recovery is super important to me to continue on my fitness journey. I need to find ways to counteract the muscle spasms I often get and not feel like a truck hit me. I discovered rollers last year and I found that they really help with Muscle Recovery much faster than I anticipated. What's great about rollers too, is they can help by increasing circulation before or after a workout. I like to do them as part of my warm up, but I also use them afterwards if I'm having a particularly Tight muscle day or on my rest days to help speed up recovery. Here are some tips for using a roller for Muscle Recovery.
Don’t think you need an expensive one-I have purchased my rollers are outlet type stores like TJ Maxx. You can get them for under $10 a lot of the time. Foam rollers are pretty basic so there is no need to spend more.
Use before a workout to help get things warmed up-Most people think foam rollers are just for after workouts, but many experts agree that you can use them before safely in order to help your muscles get a good warm-up and actually prevent workout related injuries. I suggest, based on my own preference and experience, that using a flatter or rounder roller without as many ridges is best for warm ups.
Use a roller after to speed up recovery time-If you use a roller after a workout it can actually help speed up recovery time and just provide some well-needed muscle massage. I like to use one like the one pictured because it has deep ridges on it to really work out any post-exercise tightness or soreness.
Concentrate on large muscle groups-Focusing on larger muscle groups is best with a roller simply because of its size and and shape. Since I am a runner, I often use mine of my legs. I do this by working on my calves and quads/thighs. To use the roller, simply lay it under the muscle group you want to massage. Then, lay your other foot on the ground at an angle. Sit up and roll the roller under your leg by moving your body with your hips off the ground. . Reposition it to get your quads.
Expect that there may be discomfort but it shouldn’t hurt- Sometimes the roller can be uncomfortable because it does have the ridges. Think of it like a massage; they sometimes cause slight discomfort due to the muscles being worked but they should never be extremely painful. If you find the roller painful, either switch to one with less ridges or stop altogether in that area.
Purchase a couple of different types- As I have talked about, you will want to have a couple of different kinds so you can work different muscles and have different levels of massage. I like to have a deep tissue one with many ridges, a mild roller with one a few mostly flat ones and a completely ridge-free one.
Remember hydration is important for muscle recovery- Just like when getting a massage, you will want to drink water after to make sure you have enough hydration to help your muscles recover. Not doing so can lead to more pain and longer recovery as well as a nasty Charley-horse in the middle of the night as I found out the hard way.