Foam Rolling: 'A waste of time'
Every day I see people misusing foam rollers and wasting valuable time in their training session. There are very few benefits to foam rolling and the benefits that do come about form using them, are never actually performed correctly.
What are we trying to achieve when we foam roll? Increase flexibility, range of motion and mobility, right? What is causing this tightness? Connective tissue known as fascia, the shiny stuff, that covers or divides structures and tissues of the body. Fascia is primarily made of of collagen, that is designed to resist tensile stress. Collagen pound for pound is stronger than steel cable. What the hell is a roll of foam going to do?
When fascia becomes dysfunctional it is a force to be reckoned with, causing movement restrictions and pain. This is a misalignment of tissue due to trauma and injury, poor motor patterns and emotional distress. Releasing the tissue will allow us to create better movement patterns. Foam rolling will not do this. Foam rolling is a short term increase in flexibility that will wear off 10 minutes later. It is what you do in the next 10 minutes that will determine better range of motion, flexibility and mobility.
A study on two groups including one control group who foam rolled pre and post workout, compared to a group who did not foam roll for two months. There was no recorded change in flexibility, so foam rolling may be a total waste of time. This is because foam rolling only produces a compression of tissue, with no physiological change when a shearing force is needed to stretch the fascia. Foam rolling does however cause lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort. In my opinion foam rollers do have 1 great purpose, and that is for vertebra distraction. Many people in this day and age have spinal tightness; whether it be thoracic kyphosis or an immobile T-Spine, so placing a foam roller under your spine and extending through whatever region necessary will improve your posture and educate the spine into a better, more functional position.
So stop wasting your time foam rolling muscles and carry out some specific range of motion exercises, specific warm ups for your training plan, and lift some heavy a$$ weights.