Foam Rolling hurts. There’s a reason why every trainer, fitness class, and workout video includes stretching. Just do it! If you don’t stretch you may end up feeling a pain similar to stubbing a toe, except the toe would be the size of your entire calf and the stub would involve a big foamy tube. Enter: my newest form of torture.
My physical therapist wants me to foam roll to help relieve some of the tightness around my recently broken fibula. She believes the tendons and muscles all need to loosen up so she invests a lot of time massaging it. You would think that would be nice, IT’S NOT! I dread having my calves touched more than anything. They’re just so tender! What you can’t see in this picture above is the near-tears that were forming in my eyes. Simply lying my calf onto a foam roller causes excruciating pain that I have to breath through and try to conquer. Luckily, I can yoga my way into a less pained state of mind.
But my PT also told me to put my other leg on top of the leg that’s on the foam roller. And this time, the near-tears returned. She advised me to run the roller up and down my calf, from behind my knee all the way to my foot. REPEAT: 5 times and don’t forget to breathe the pain away.
Some parts of my leg hurt worse than others. It really, really sucks. Which leads me to understand why it’s so important to do. I need to feel more gumby-like to be less injury-prone and to reach optimal health. Rollin’ is one way to get me there. How can I expect my muscles to do all the amazing things they are meant to do, if they are tightened up, shrunk down, and refusing to budge. Sorry calves but I’ll be needing to remold you and that’s going to require regular rollin’.
My PT also taught me to stretch on the foam roller (it’s not only about smooshing those muscles!) You can stretch out your shins pretty well by pointing your toes on top of the roller. Then stretch your calf by digging your heel into the roller. You can do this all with your booty still on the ground or stand up while stretching (but hold onto a wall or something ‘cuz foam rollers have a tendency to roll out from under you.)
And don’t even get me started on rollin’ the hammies, quads, groin and hips. Just thinking about those parts makes me cringe. Baby steps guys, baby steps.
Do you foam roll? If so, please share how it helped (or hurt!) you.
I would love to know how you roll…