Foam Roller … Friend or Foe?

I think it’s both. I have been curious about foam rollers for a while now, but I’ve never really taken the time to actually use one until recently. A few weeks back, one of my Piloxing girls invited me to join her on her training session, which ended with some foam rolling. During which I discovered that, apparently, my body is one big, giant adhesion. Yes, friends, I am quite possibly an even bigger mess than I initially thought.

That said, I decided that I’m going to start trying to fit a little rolling into my life. On Thursday, I stuck around for a bit after my cycle class – nothing too crazy, maybe 10 minutes – to work out some of the knots in my thighs. It hurt. It hurt good. But it was nothing compared to yesterday’s “rolling session,” if you will.

For some reason, I’ve been really motivated to stick around for some additional gym time following my Sunday classes. In all honesty, it’s probably because I’ve been feeling stretched a little thin lately, and after teaching two classes on Sunday morning  has been the only time I’ve been able to fit in a third lifting session during the week (I didn’t say it was sane). Yesterday, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was a little sore from my workout the day before. I was kind of tired.

Enter the foam roller. I have to say, I’m pretty sure I’m on the verge of developing a love-hate relationship with these things (my brother, Eric, an avid crossfitter and foam roller advocate, has already called dibs on a foam roller as his Christmas present to me, so I have a feeling there will be even more rolling coming). The pain of hitting a knot can be excruciating – there were definitely a few moments where I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry, scream, or keep going (a few deep breaths and a promise that I was going to make it got me through) – and my legs felt like jello for the few hours that followed – but today? They felt great. And so did the run that went farther and faster that I’d intended for it to tonight (7.08 in an hour … and if the treadmill hadn’t stopped, I probably could have kept going).

So, foam roller – friend or foe? I think it depends on if it’s during or after. But the pain has proven to be completely worth it.

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29 thoughts on “Foam Roller … Friend or Foe?

    • Ooh…good to know! I go to the Chiro once a month, and it’s mostly because my muscles are such a mess they knock my neck and hips out of place. Hopefully this new friend will help alleviate my issues!

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with mine. Love that it helps with knots, the IT band, sore back by lying supine on it. Hate pain with knots and that my hair sometimes gets caught under it rolling out the shoulders (ouch!)! Love that it doubles as an unstable surface for press ups, planks, bridges, butterfly crunches, legs lifts & other pilates moves etc by lying supine on it!

    • The Grid is what they have at my gym, so that’s what I’ve been using. Those ridges are exactly what my legs need. I’m hoping regular use will start to alleviate some of the tension in my hips that I’ve been struggling with lately.

  2. Aah foam rollers! I understand the love v hate…the pain can be crazy but wow do they work. You end up loving them. Then moving on to a rumble roller…. and then suddenly you look around your house and see golf balls, tennis balls, spiky massage balls and rollers everywhere….you know it’s really bad when you can’t leave the house without some form in your handbag!

    • Oh, the pain is awful…but I felt amazing the next day. My brother swears by the rumble roller. And I’ve definitely been guilty of keeping a golf ball or two in weird places…

  3. Love ….hate relationship. I totally GET that fact ! I keep my small roller in my gym bag because if i pull a glute muscle..rolling saves me. If that muscle gets tights, i am screwed.

  4. I only started foam rolling a couple of weeks ago, and I’m definitely convinced that its my new best running friend! It definitely hurts to use, especially when my muscles are extremely tight, but I’ve noticed that my hamstring soreness doesn’t persist for as long as it did before I started foam rolling.

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