I thought I should kick this post off with a little disclaimer – what you are about to read is a post on my thoughts on using a foam roller for the very first time as someone who has started training reasonably recently (January namely!). Please take my little review as the ‘novice’s guide to foam rolling’ – no more, no less!
To give you a bit of background behind me kicking off a more serious attitude to fitness – I signed up to Tough Mudder at the end of April. Quite a physical challenge for those who take good care of themselves and stay healthy. However for someone who enjoyed nothing better than a Netflix marathon, it was safe to say I needed to take action. I have been running three times a week consistently for coming up to ten weeks now alongside weight training, elongating my distance all the time to build up my stamina for the main event. This has meant my legs have been put under a fair bit of strain and muscle building, but it has felt great.
This was when Sport Ninja’s Muscle Foam Roller became a welcomed addition to my exercise regime (with rather lovely packaging too). Foam rollers are a piece of exercise equipment that are truly brilliant for those of all fitness levels, as it provides a great way to aid recovery by massaging tension out of muscles and aiding muscles to stay elastic and responsive after the strain they are put under from a workout. The technique is called self myofascial release – it is simply massaging certain parts of your body along the foam roller, to target the tension in your myofascial system (tissue that surrounds outer muscles and muscle fibres) that you need recovery for. It can be done with your hands as well and other equipment like an exercise ball, but it makes it that much simpler for someone like myself who is starting out.
I wanted to focus on my legs as I was running a lot, so after some googling and YouTube tutorials I was set and gave it a go. To say the least it can be painful and feel a little uncomfortable, but this is actually a good thing. The process of using a foam roller is essentially a form of deep tissue massage, which will support the prevention of trigger points/ knots in your muscles and gets easier each time. Sport Ninja’s foam roller is great for me as I liked the different raised and lowered indentations around it, which feels like it’s doing that little more for you.
After a few sessions of using the foam roller after long runs, I noticed a real difference in my recovery time. I rarely felt too stiff the next day and it’s actually really simple to do once you know how. After having a look through the Sport Ninja website, they provided a great e-book on how to make the most of your foam roller and how to use effectively. I thought I would share with you the tips I learnt that you should keep in mind:
It’s not supposed to be agonising and your muscles should feel better after you have used the foam roller. I now use it after almost every workout I do and would recommend this to anyone. It’s such a good piece of equipment to support a lot of muscle groups and you are in control of how much you want to use it, no matter what level you are. I will be using it right up until I complete Tough Mudder and the fitness regime I fully intend to keep following it. This is the first piece of equipment Sport Ninja have released and it’s pretty reasonably priced at £31.90 (now at £20 if you want to take advantage of the discount!).
This post was written by Elly, who works in Digital Marketing and lives for jerk chicken and Bloody Mary’s, finding all the best bits that London has to offer and now running and finding fun ways to keep fit. You can find here on Twitter and Instagram as @elly_russell.