Increase your range of motion and circulation while decreasing recovery time through foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR). SMR is when a person uses their body weight to massage knots, trigger points or myofascial adhesions to stimulate and relax their muscles. Consider these four differences in SMR tool design before purchasing or trying one for the first time:
Smooth foam rollers distribute pressure evenly and cost less than textured ones. Textured rollers simulate a massage therapist’s hands through ridges and knobs helping you release tension in smaller areas on the body.
Often you can identify a foam roller’s density by its color (e.g., white is soft, black is hard). Finding a density that delivers the perfect amount of pressure, without causing bruising or trauma can increase your physical performance. Denser rollers tend to last longer than softer ones because they can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.
Rollers around 36 inches long are great for beginners and work wonders for your back because they cover the entire area when placed perpendicular to the spine. Plus, they offer greater stability than shorter rollers when you need relief in the quads and hamstrings. Targeting smaller areas of the body, such as the arms and calves, benefit from shorter lengths.
The average foam roller is about 5 or 6 inches in diameter; this height offers you more control when getting on or off of it. Up the intensity by graduating to a 3- or 4-inch diameter roller.
To learn more about proper foam rolling techniques and/or specific product recommendations, please consult a center fitness specialist.
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