Eight Foam Rolling Techniques to Loosen Up Your Muscles

Sore, stiff, tight? We feel you. Take some time for self-massage. Used pre-workout, pre-stretching, or simply to start the day, foam rolling has serious benefits, including easing muscle soreness, correcting muscle imbalance, increasing range of motion, and preventing injury.

Some gyms have foam rollers, but it might be worth investing in your own. (They’re still way cheaper than a professional massage!) Rollers vary in size, firmness, and shape. Long rollers provide more area for stability and support, while shorter options are more versatile and convenient for travel. A soft foam provides a gentler massage than a high-density version. Some options include a grid-like design or a ridged surface, which helps target tough-to-relieve knots and trigger points.

Source: How to Foam Roll Like a Pro

Don’t be fooled by the expensive ones though unless you really want one.  The generic rollers are just as good. You can get them in all kinds of firmness levels depending on need, body weight etc.

I would caution against direct rolling of the IT band; with the lack of elasticity in connective tissues, it can lead to a plastic strain response and subsequent damage. Franklyn-Miller summarized the article here.

Video Games Can Help You Endure Pain, Even In Labor

Does that mean we game the pain away?

Pain relief isn’t just a physical thing; distracting yourself can help you get through a painful experience. We’ve already seen that kids who watch cartoons don’t feel as much pain when they get a shot. It turns out that playing a game works even better than passively watching videos.

Source: Video Games Can Help You Endure Pain, Even In Labor

Labor?  No.  I present exhibit A:

There’s always been the joke about how “it hurts here”, so someone injures the wounded person somewhere else to distract from the original pain.  Less joke now, more truism.  But decidedly less about the technology – it’s about the immersion.  Which makes sense why a video game would work better – it requires your interaction vs passively watching a TV show.

Why Your Muscles Get Sore (and What You Can Do About It)

When you’re struggling to walk down the stairs the day after a tough workout, should you view your soreness as proof you worked hard, or as a sign you overdid it? The truth is somewhere in between. Let’s learn about where soreness comes from and how to keep it from making you miserable.

Source: Why Your Muscles Get Sore (and What You Can Do About It)

One of the suggestions to combat soreness is ibuprofen – do not do this on blood thinners, at least not before reading about it.

Sports Massage Doesn’t Flush Toxins, but May Help You Recover

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner’s entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.

Yet despite massage’s popularity and positive reputation, there’s been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. “It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine,” says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn’t confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what’s true and what’s not.

Source: The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Massage do not flush lactic acid, or other “toxins” from your muscles. Lactic acid is produced during exercise, and though you might associate it with a burning feeling during hard work – it’s not a problem, isn’t responsible for next-day soreness, and doesn’t need help to be removed from the muscles.  Plenty of studies show that massage has no effect on blood flow to the muscles.

Massage does help to relax muscles, though, which can help to relieve tight muscles. The same action can break up adhesions, a type of scar tissue that sometimes forms in muscle.  Massage promotes recovery.