Why do we foam roll?

If you’re following CrossFit or have been involved with a fitness routine I’m sure you have either seen or have tried foam rolling.

I’m also sure the first time you tried rolling out your quads you’re thinking “why is this so painful?” and “breathe!”

There’s a reason we foam roll, and why we do it often.

When fixing dysfunctional movement patterns we want to look at the following in this order:
•motor control (how we move)
•connective tissue (foam rolling)
•joint function (banded distractions)
•muscle length (stretching).

Our connective tissue are sliding surfaces. It’s a bunch of fibers intertwined and meant to slide and glide freely. But what happens when these tissues can no longer slide and they get stuck? This is why we foam roll.

Think of your connective tissues like string cheese. After you sit all day keeping your hamstrings warm or heating them up while exercise its the same thing that would happen to string cheese if you apply heat, they stick together.

To unstick these connective tissues we use a foam roller or a ball. We’re not just laying on the object. We need to move and apply shear to these tissues to allow them to slide again. I recommend 1-2 minutes per side.

When should you foam roll? I do before I workout to help get my tissues moving. I also like to after my workouts to help push the lactic acid out and aid in recovery.

Try it out and find out what works best for you and your routine.