Foam Rolling

October 5, 2009

Please pardon the lack of a witty title. It’s Monday, people.

I know you were all hoping for another completely pointless Top 10 list, but it’s time to get serious. The topic of today: foam rolling. Yippee!!

For you visual learners:

Get on this!

Get on this!

This form of stretching called myofascial release. The specifics of this can get complicated, so I’ll do my best not to get too scientific on you. Basically, what it does is help release the tension in your muscles, allowing them to loosen up and remain limber. Think one word: massage.

Now do I have your attention?

Curious to know how how this works? Think back to middle school science class. Do you remember your teacher mentioning something called the Golgi tendon organ?

No? OK, then just humor me.

This awesome little sensory organ is responsible for sensing tension and the rate of tension change in a muscle. When the Golgi tendon organ senses high or prolonged tension on a specific muscle, it responds by making the muscle spindles relax, releasing the tension and making that area looser and more limber.

Are you following this?

The foam roller allows you to use your own body to put high and prolonged tension on a specific area of your body that may be sore or tight, activating the Golgi tendon organ and thus, relaxing the targeted muscle.

Pretty neat huh?

Here’s a video for your viewing pleasure:

I know you probably don’t have 9 minutes to devote to watching a YouTube clip on foam rolling, but this one is pretty informative.

A word of warning: it’s probably going to hurt like hell the first time you use one (especially if you’re a runner). The more it hurts, to more you need to use it. So suck it up. It’s worth it.