For many people, a foam roller can be a mixture of friend and foe when it comes to using it as a great tool to assist with recovery, muscle tension, breaking down adhesions and myofascial release, when perhaps regular access to a sports therapist for massage is not possible.
For all athletes, the importance of having muscle tissue that has excellent structure and integrity, is paramount for performance and also reducing the risk of ‘overuse’ injuries.
I have often used a ‘blocked sink’ analogy to highlight the importance of muscle integrity to athletes. You cannot force water down a blocked sink, and muscle tissue is exactly the same. Fluid dynamics are integral to muscle tissue, and especially paramount for performance in sport. Muscle tissue requires blood which carries oxygen and other nutrients to it, so that muscles can function and perform in the way in which we require. Of course, it is also important for ‘waste products’ to also be removed from the tissue without restriction. Therefore, any impeding of fluid dynamics due to poor muscle quality from tightness, adhesions etc, merely serves to negatively affect performance.
Cyclists have for decades relied on massage as a means of maintaining excellent quality, supple muscle tissue to assist with performance on the bike, and to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. While a foam roller cannot completely replace an expert’s hands administering treatment, it can be a very convenient, efficient and cost effective tool to build into your pre and post training routine!
How do you view your foam roller? Friend or foe?