Yesterday A Dude mentioned some ways to save money, and one of them was to go to massage schools. To save even more money, a foam roller is a great way to keep your muscles limber and it’s free once you buy it. I have owned one of these innocent looking cylinders of pain for a while. But it tends to sit in the corner or hide out under the bed, lonely and neglected. After yesterday’s ride, moving earlier in the week, and another day of wrangling boxes, I was feeling pretty tight. So after a tasty nap next to Buddy the dog and doing my 30′ of yoga (which I’ve been at for over 4 years now), I dragged out the roller to smooth out the rough spots. First I did a little online reading and for those unfamiliar am happy to share what I learned. Let’s get rolling!
Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ — Let’s Get Them Doggies Rollin’
Two cycling magazines have great guides to, and pointers for, using foam rollers, so I won’t invent the wheel. The links are here: US’s Bicycling and UK’s Cycling Word. As always, ask your doctor first if you can use one in case you have some issue that may be contraindication. He or she will mostly likely say while basically ignoring you to make chart notes on their laptop, “A foam what? Yeah, sure, whatever. If it hurts too much, stop it.”
What I have to share is my own experience, for what that’s worth. And as I said, I tend to avoid using the roller, because it hurts. There will be pain. Whoever put me onto it said it would eventually go away. I would say that person is a bald-faced liar.
But, I since haven’t used it daily for any length of time, they’re probably right. Consistency is key. So is the composer of the Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott (Key). His last name is Key. Get it? Got it? Good! It’s a play on words. A Dude Abikes is funny and educational. We are dropping some historical knowledge on you. I hope it doesn’t hurt. Like the foam roller. Because that does.
When Foam Rolling Feels Like Torture
When the foam roller gets too much for your muscles and tendons, especially the IT band, famous for being tight in bicyclists, obviously if you’re a real cyclist, you want to push through the pain. Just kidding, that’s for idiots and masochists. However, there is a fine line, your sweet spot, where you are getting some discomfort, versus not feeling anything. Only you can tell where that point is. Also, only you can stop forest fires.
In my experience, aside from repetition and consistency of use, it’s best to ease into using a foam roller. That’s because you could actually do some damage if you overdo it. The link above and also this one about 6 Great Alternatives to Foam Rollers, also in Bicycling magazine, may be helpful. It describes how to get to those hard to reach spots with other objects like a tennis ball. It certainly helps me to do yoga first. You may even want to use some magnesium lotions or take an Epsom salt bath, magnesium lotion or another product I wrote about to loosen up first.
To answer the question in the title: yes, foam rollers help, AND they hurt! Sort of like dentists. Whether you run, walk, bike, swim, do other sports or no sports, A Dude suggests you learn more about them and try one out for yourself.
Photos from Today
Buddy goes nuts on a stick and takes care of a lone wolf.
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