Image Source: Martin Addison
Foam rollers can be a great help to runners as it releases muscle tension. By using a foam roller, you can achieve self-myofascial release (SMR), which will help recondition your muscles and aid in the recovery process. Slowly rolling back and forth on the foam roller will release muscle tension or muscle tightness and restores elasticity, flexibility and health. Both professionals, and casual runners can benefit from spending time on a foam roller prior to a run.
Using the Foam Roller
One of the best ways for runners to use a foam roller, is part of warm up or cool down exercises. This improves blood circulation and stretches muscles, preparing them for intense activity or relieving them afterward. Improved blood flood is crucial for repairing and building muscle.
Below are some exercises I suggest doing for pre and post workouts. These are mainly geared toward runners, but anyone who works their legs can benefit from this regimen:
These exercises can help you prepare for or cool down before or after an intense running session. Foam rollers can be a huge help for runners. Injury prevention, increased flexibility, increased circulation and quicker recovery times, are all benefits of using one.
Why are they good for runners?
Two of the most important aspects of running are maintaining a flexible muscular system and keeping your body in great condition. A foam roller can help you achieve this by rehabilitating tired and “knotted” muscles.
From amateurs to professionals, runners have used foam rollers to help them regenerate muscular capacity. Professional athletes, trainers and coaches are also using foam rollers to improve their muscular performance, and many chiropractors and physical therapists actually recommend using a foam roller to help reduce injury.
Recovering from Runner’s Knee
If you’ve run for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced runner’s knee. Essentially, runner’s knee occurs because the IT band, a long band of fascia which tethers your hip to your knee, becomes increasingly tight and ‘pulls’ your knee. This can cause major pain and discomfort. Using a foam roller can help resolve this. I would advise against rolling directly on your IT band, but focusing on the muscles attached, like your glute medius and your TFL (tensor fasciae latae).