Will Foam Rolling Your Muscles Release Toxins?
Foam rolling breaks down the muscles and releases toxins into the body. Your body then flushes these toxins out, leaving you with muscles that aren’t as sore.
How Foam Rolling Works
What exactly is a foam roller and what does it do to your muscles? It’s a cylinder shaped hard, foam device used to apply pressure to sore muscles. They come in different sizes, but a 36-inch diameter one is suggested for use on muscles. It is best to start with one of the softer, flat surfaced ones if you do not frequently foam roll or are new to it.
As the foam roller rolls over tight muscles, it creates pressure on muscles trigger points that cause the muscle to relax. Within your muscles, the fascia exists in multiple layers. It wraps around individual muscle fibers and cells. It also wraps around muscle fiber bundles and the entire muscle body. These layers of fascia are responsible for giving muscle its shape and attaching tendons to bones which help you perform activities such as running. Muscle fascia is solid, and becomes even more so if trigger points develop. This happens due to muscular injury, inflammation, or trauma. Where does foam rolling play its part? It applies pressure to the muscles to break up and move the fascia, allowing them to separate and relax. This results in less muscle soreness following a workout.
Foam rolling also warms up your muscles, rushing blood into them, much like how stretching works. This also helps loosen muscles, preventing injury and increases your range of motion. If foam rolling is done after your workout, it increases blood flow to muscle tissue which aids in a speedy recovery. This can also help with muscle soreness following an intense workout.
Similar to getting a massage, foam rolling does break down the muscles, releasing toxins into the body. While this may sound scary, it is not harmful. It is rather beneficial for your muscles. Drinking enough water will help flush these out as soon as possible. So you are essentially breaking up the toxins and them flushing them out through urination. This is a much better alternative to having them built up in your muscles causing pain and soreness. Studies also show that those who foam roll have less lactic acid in their muscles. Lactic acid is produced in your muscles and builds up during intense exercise. It leads to painful and sore muscles, which we obviously don’t want.
Best Ways To Use A Foam Roller
Place the foam roller under your sore thigh, having it fully extended. Rest on your forearms with your stomach face down and have your over leg bent resting on the front of your shin. Slowly move back and forth along your quad muscles, going overt the sore areas. Your calves and hamstrings can also be rolled out by placing your hands by your sides face down to hold yourself up. Always keep your back straight and prevent it from rounding.
Your upper back and lats can also be rolled, but avoid the lower back. Go ahead and sit on the roller while keeping balance to roll out sore glutes after a heavy leg day.
Foam Rolling Benefits
Foam rolling is most beneficial if done every day. Or every day that you’re in the gym. Foam rolling results appear to be mostly short-lived. So it may help you today and tomorrow, but not necessarily in a week from now. This is why it’s best to do it as often as possible. Before and after workouts, or whenever you’re feeling soreness will work. Dividing the muscle into three segments is the most effective way to roll. Do the top, middle, and bottom of the muscle group. Give a few passes on each section before switching to the next. You do not need to spend a lot of time on one muscle group, or it can end up doing more damage.
Foam rolling can also improve posture by straightening out your back. By lying on your back and rolling out the muscles, it will straighten out your back and allow you to pull your shoulders back. This encourages better posture when your are standing up or sitting. Connections with the intrinsic and core muscles can be improved as well by rolling them out. Circulation and lubrication of tissue and organs is increased by the roller pushing blood throughout the muscles and body.
Should It Be Painful?
When applying pressure to your muscles, you are activating the pain receptors, which will cause some discomfort. It is likely it will be a bit painful, but if it really hurts then you may be pressing too hard. There shouldn’t be any sharp or serious pain otherwise you may be injured. You should not roll your ligaments or joints such as knees, elbows, or lower back. This can be dangerous and cause muscle spasms. Stick to muscles to prevent further injury. Make sure you roll slowly. Don’t roll until the point of excessive damage as you will be doing more harm than good.
Do not foam roll the IT band. This is the connective tissue that runs along your outer thigh from the hip to the knee. Although it may feel very good, it can be dangerous. This is because it is not pliable and can’t be released by means such as foam rolling. It will actually increase inflammation, rather than reducing it.