I love my foam roller. I truly think it was instrumental in helping me overcome some intense hip pain, periformis muscle issues and shoulder pain that I was experiencing about 12-18 months ago.
There are some studies out there that support the use of self myofacial release (SMR) but there are probably just as many that don’t. One of the things that I’ve come to realize over the years is that whether there is scientific evidence to support something or not really doesn’t matter (to me). If it works (for me) then that’s enough evidence (for me). I really don’t care if it’s a placebo effect or not.
HERE is an article from T-Nation on SMR and HERE is a beginner’s guide to foam rolling by Pure Performance Training. One more article from Breaking Muscle is HERE – which includes a peer reviewed study. There are also a ton of youtube videos to watch on the subject (google is your friend).
The place that got me started was THIS article in Men’s Health. It’s short and sweet and gives diagrams.
Right now I have the dark blue hard density foam roller. I also use 2 tennis balls that are tied into a sports sock (thanks for the tip Tania!). I found that putting them inside a sock and then tying a knot at the end helps me from chasing the little suckers all over the lounge room.
Below is my dream foam roller – the rumbleroller. Next time I place an order for kettlebells, one of these little babies is going to come live at my house.
When do I foam roll? Pretty much every night when I sit down in front of the TV I start by sitting on my foam roller. I don’t spend long on it (maybe 15-20 minutes) but it feels good and based upon what I’ve read, I think it’s good for me.
The best thing is that it helps keep my hip and shoulder pain at bay. Some people do their foam rolling before they exercise – some afterwards. As with most things, I think it’s important to find what works for you and then do it.