Foam Rolling: Next level muscle pampering
I’m Alban Lakata, mountain bike pro. My fans call me Albanator. Exactly 10 years after I won my first marathon race, I became the World Champion in St. Wendel, Germany in 2010. Since 15 years I compete in long distance marathon mountain bike races. In that span as an active person I tried many, many things to solve physical problems (stiffness, pain), to elevate performance, to balance the one-sided impact biking impairs.
There are many devices and exercise regimes I followed for a while with more or less success. Besides yoga only one regime, I always name it special treatment, could survive:
Why did foam rolling get so important? Of course the pros always lead the way in trying new ways to be ahead of the pack. Professional athletes discovered the foam roller many, many years ago. Here is why I like it.
1. Foam Rolling works, always
If applied properly foam rolling can give you pretty much the full benefit of a massage. We all know that it is almost impossible to get always a massage especially right then when you need it. If you have a longer exercise unit or race planned you can organize to get a massage afterwards. However, if you do a trainings session in the evening and you find yourself left with some tight spots you have to take action. When your massage therapist is not picking up the phone at 10pm, it is time to take the foam roller. While watching a good movie you can literally transform your body and loosen all tightness in your body. After 20-30 minutes of foam rolling in front of your TV you are ready to fall asleep like a baby. More important you have avoided the uncomfortable crawling out of bed next morning because of muscle stiffness.
2. Foam Rolling is cheap
There is no other treatment for your body which is so inexpensive while doing so much. Simple foam rollers are starting at $5 or less. If you want to have the luxury version you might spend $30 or $40. Besides different trigger point pattern products, the luxury category might include a great instruction brochure, DVD or ebook. It still pays off after the first use.
3. Foam Rolling is effective
The best massage therapist needs some time to understand your body, learn the hot spots to treat you well. With the foam roller you are in control. You know exactly where to go and where to spend more or less time to achieve a maximum of relaxation in the shortest time frame possible.
4. Foam Rolling is easy
Foam Rolling can be performed by anybody instantly. You basically only sit or lay on the foam roller and move your body part which needs to get massaged over the roller. First you roll back and forward to find the painful and/or tight hot spots. Once you have identified such a spot you simply hold a position where the spot gets pressured for a few seconds.
5. Foam Rolling is versatile
Depending on your budget it is possible to invite your massage therapist to travel with you. The easier way is to get a smaller compact version of a foam roller and pack it in the suitcase. There is nothing better to roll out your muscle after a longer drive in the car or after a long flight. I sometimes even foam roll on airports during a stop over. Feels amazing.
Summary: Start with a simple foam roller. Get a better version once you have experience and you know what hardness and texture pattern works best for you. If you travel a lot get the travel size as well. It is worth the space you have to scarify in your suitcase.
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