If you feel that those regular weekly massages you've been getting are a huge strain on your wallet, a foam roller may just be what the doctor ordered.
Just what exactly is a foam roller? This is a long cylinder which is typically made of EPE foam. They were traditionally used for physical therapy purposes but their roles have expanded greatly in today's fitness industry.
Using one gives you many advantages. For one, it helps alleviate poor blood circulation, which can really hinder your muscle-building efforts (as your muscles are not getting sufficient nutrients from your bloodstream). Not only that, poor blood circulation also makes you feel lethargic! A foam roller ensures your blood circulates throughout your skin, fascia (the soft connective tissue just below the skin), muscles, tendons and ligaments.
In other words, using this product to complement your eating, exercise, nutrition and supplementation habits will go a long way in achieving your fitness goals.
A traditional massage also fails to lengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments as much as a foam roller can. Lengthening these body parts is extremely crucial in order to prevent physical imbalances and in more extreme cases, injuries.
Optimal spinal range of motion is another great benefit of a foam roller. Roll your spine against the roller and stop for a moment whenever you feel uneasy. Doing this will allow the surrounding muscles and tissues to stretch.
Your core muscles are also on the receiving end in terms of its advantages. These would include your abdominal muscles, obliques and lower back. By achieving good core stability using a foam roller, you also improve your posture. This makes everyday tasks, which may have been previously burdensome, a breeze! As if these weren't enough, foam rollers are also commonly used in Pilates classes.
To use an EPE foam roller, lie on your side with your body perpendicular to the roller whilst supporting yourself on your elbow. Roll from the top of your hip down the lateral side of your thigh toward your knee. Make sure to emphasise areas of tension as you do this. When you find one, pause for a while to help release some of the tension. Alternatively, you can also apply long strokes to the affected area.
As a word of precaution, never apply extra pressure using this product on your bones.
If you want to experience all of these great benefits, the EPE foam roller is an excellent way to start. It's a great value for your money which you can only find on Australia's number one fitness company, Amino Z.