I'll be the first one to say I hate warming up. And rolling around on a 2-foot long piece of foam never really seemed like the best use of my time until I actually started doing it.
While nothing can reproduce the hands of an good bodywork by an experienced therapist, foam rolling daily can improve the quality of your fascial tissue ultimately enhancing your flexibility, mobility and movement.
So simply put, here are five ways to improve your foam rolling for your warm-up:
-1- Do some movement to warm-up the tissue before rolling. I hate to say walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes, so jump on a stationary bike for 2 minutes. This helps get you out of your zombie state, get the blood circulating and warm the tissues.
-2- If you are rolling for general release, work the calves, IT bands, thoracic spine, quadriceps, and piriformis muscles. If possible, a great way to start is with the bottom of the feet using a lacrosse ball.
-3- The technique is to roll over the belly for the muscle 5-10 times until you find a tender spot (myofascial adhesion). Hold or "pin" the tender stops for a few seconds. Think of working out a knot. Then roll 5-10 more times and repeat.
-4- Stay away from rolling the tailbone, lower ribs (floating ribs in back), the tip of the breastbone, abdominal area (pubic bone), cervical vertebrae (neck area). These are pretty much common sense. Just because you have tightness or discomfort somewhere doesn't mean you should foam roll it.
-5- When rolling you should experience discomfort and/or pressure when hitting myofascial adhesions, not pain. If doing it correctly, the sensation will be a feeling of this discomfort and then eventually relief as the tissue relaxes. If you have any severe discomfort after a few breaths, move away from that spot.