George Papadakos - Tales in Triathlon
I would never, ever, substitute a real massage for that of a foam roller. But sometimes money, time and you and your massage therapists schedules just don't jive.
It is in times like these that I employ some foam rolling techniques that will help me to recover faster, help me alleviate tension in some of my major muscle groups and allow me a greater level of flexibility.
Foam rollers can be found in most, if not all department stores, and usually have a decent price point as well. They can range from $15 to $40, and vary in different lengths and thicknesses.
Once you own a foam roller you will definitely appreciate the affordable therapeutic effects in the comfort of your own home.
I use my foam roller weekly and will pick it up while I'm watching some television at night, or after I have come in from a long training session and just need that little something that stretching just didn't help.
The foam roller is used by rolling it under a specific muscle group until you find a tender spot. When found, keep the pressure on that spot for 30-60 seconds and then keep rolling. If the spot is still sore, revisit it after you have assessed any other tight areas you may have.
The keys to effective foam rolling is that it should be done slowly so that the muscle group gets some release, and to make sure it is not used to treat any muscle injuries.
My favourite foam rolling exercise is to lie on my back with the foam roller under my butt and then using my legs, allow the roller to roll up my back to the base of my neck. It won't take you long to find some "niggles" that you never knew you had, along with the ones you did.
Like I said, this a cheap substitute for the real thing, but might make the difference.
Until I meet you at the start line train safe and have fun!