Foam Rolling to Prevent Injuries

Foam Rolling: The Missing Link to Prevent Injuries

by Tom Reynolds on January 13, 2011

It’s hard to run into someone that doesn’t have an injury of some kind.  Whether you tweaked your knee in middle school or dislocated your shoulder in a cage fight, injuries are a daily annoyance and can downright keep you out of the gym.  The thing is, so many injuries can be prevented.

Why Do Most Injuries Happen?

Modern lifestyle, with poor posture being the center of it, leads to certain muscles being too active, while others are inactive.  This posture issue that I’m sure you hear a lot about causes us to have short hamstrings, tight hip flexors, weak glutes and too much flex in the lower back instead of the hips (opposite of the way that it’s supposed to be).

This causes anterior pelvic tilt (your butt sticks out), knee, hip, and back pain, and so on. All of the muscles around the hips like our back and hamstrings do all of our work instead of the glutes. It’s a big mess that won’t be fixed by stretching the areas that hurt.

How Can We Fix This?

The two main ways that we can prevent injuries are by using the correct muscles and having proper posture.

We need to learn to use our glutes more than we need to strengthen them.  As an example, sit down in a chair that is about at your knee height.  From the beginning, focus on your glutes and slowly stand up using them by pulling your hips forward. Foam rolling in the below video will force you to use the proper muscles.

Also, make sure to sit with your shoulders back, chest up, and butt back.  It helps that if you are at a computer to have your computer setup at the proper heights.  You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Here is a great calculator on the proper setup for standing or on a normal monitor.

Foam Rollers

This is how Wikipedia defines foam rolling, “Foam Rolling is a Self-Myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes and physical therapists to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle.”

Think of a foam roller as a personal deep tissue massage you can give yourself any time. It is a soft tissue therapy that will improve the quality of the muscle you are rolling, get rid of knots, and relax the muscles you are targeting.

When foam rolling, roll the muscle with the proper technique.  Wait til you find a knot and roll slowly back and forth over the knot for a 30-60 seconds. It will be painful, but the pain goes away the more you do it as the muscle tissue improves.

By going through the below video, you will learn one of the best routines out there.  It is fast, easy, and effective.

All you need is a soft foam roller for the major muscle groups and a tennis ball for more pinpoint tissue work.  Foam rollers are just about anywhere now including Target. Make sure to start soft and as your pain tolerance improves you can get a more dense foam roller.  I’ve known people to even use a thick PVC pipe (ouch).

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