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Should you be using a foam roller?

Foam rolling. Everybody is talking about it, but is it really worth all the hype? Here are the pros and cons of foam rolling.

foam roller

My torture device… 

First things first, what is foam rolling?

The idea behind foam rolling is to release tight muscles and the adhesions in them that restrict your range of motion. In other words, in theory, it helps to stretch out your muscles and relieve any soreness.

However, whether foam rolling actually does you any good is something that is hotly debated, with evidence both for and against it.

THE PROS

Supporters of foam rolling, rave about the benefits. Not only is it meant to help reduce the risk of injury by improving circulation, it also softens tendons which results in increased flexibility. It has also been suggested that foam rolling can help to regulate your nervous system, which increases what is known as muscle extensibility (how far the muscle can be stretched to you and me).

In theory, this increased circulation and flexibility helps you to achieve your full potential when it comes to your gym sessions, as it helps to encourage better form and reduce those dreaded DOMS.

Yep, it might hurt when you’re doing it, but as they say – no pain, no gain!

THE CONS

All sounds great, where do I sign up?

Before you go grabbing a foam roller at the end of your next session, it is worth considering that while many people rave about foam rolling, others recommend avoiding it. Although the supposed benefits are great, in reality, researchers aren’t all that convinced.

Many worry that rather than helping your muscles to soften and recover, the pressure that is applied during foam rolling could actually be having a negative impact on the nervous system instead! 

TO SUM IT UP

Foam rolling is a relatively new phenomenon and so scientific research is limited. While studies have shown that it might not have negative effects in the short term, the long-term effects have yet to be studied.

Therefore, while it might help your lifts in that session, or even in that week, there is currently no way to say for certain whether it will continue to offer these benefits in the future.

If you were looking for a more definite answer, I am sorry…

Do you foam roll or are you more of a stretching sort of person? Comment down below which you prefer.

Jamie x