What about foam rolling?

In this weeks blog post I wanted to take on the idea of doing endless amounts of foam rolling and mobility work; both pre and post workouts.

While some basic foam rolling and a short amount of mobility work can be beneficial, doing it for a long time can actually be counterproductive and a giant waste of time!

In many instances I see people writhing in pain and looking as if they are being tortured as they use the foam roller intensely over the “sore” areas.

There is also the person who has every contraption and tool that “Becoming a supple leopard” recommends. (Some of those are just down right barbaric.)

 

Other such people see mobility work and foam rolling as a daily obligation, and that you just need to grin and bear it because someone told you that it is good for you.

Now we find ourselves in the never-ending cycle of doing some form of mobility WODs, foam rolling, jamming a ball in the painful areas or wrapping it really really really tight to, “Increase the blood flow, Bro!”

The problem with all of this is that none of those torturous methods are doing anything to break down adhesion (a.k.a. scar tissue.)

Adhesion and scar tissue is what is limiting your mobility and causing you all of that pain.

When a muscle is healthy and can properly lengthen and stretch, then doing some mobility work is great. Unfortunately, due to our crappy postures and endless sitting during the day, the majority of us are filled with scar tissue.

So what are we doing when we foam roll and do a ton of mobility work?

Pretty much a whole lot of nothing, except for pissing off the muscle!

In the short term it is producing a temporary change. Basically it is blocking down the pain signals by stimulating the movement fibers in the muscle. The best example is when you jam your finger in a door and begin to shake it to ease the pain.  All it is doing is distracting the brain. The same is true with any of the mobility work, it is blocking some pain so you can do those movements.

To finish off this minor rant I want to leave with some good vibes.

Foam rolling and mobility work are a great tool to use if your muscles are in fact healthy and moving like they should. They are great for 10 minutes before a workout to get the body primed for the movement or task at hand.

If you find yourself doing 30 to 40 minutes of mobility work and foam rolling just to get through a 20-minute workout, then something isn’t right.

I tell people all the time, and I often sound like a broken record, but “you can’t train yourself out bad mobility!”

Get to a practitioner that specializes in soft tissue treatment and save yourself the extra hours per week doing the mindless mobility work!

Think about how productive you can be with the extras hours in your life!

Thanks for reading and listening to me.