A good habit to get into is using this before your workout and immediately after so that you prevent injury and continuously seek the results you desire. What am I talking about? Well, it isn't a supplement or food, it's actually a piece of apparatus that you can own or use when you are at the gym. Any guesses as to what it is? Did you know that using a foam roller can seriously increase muscle contractions thus giving you a better and more enhanced workout? Here is how...
When you exercise your muscles will breakdown but leave adhesion's that form together causing small knots within the muscle. This is inevitable and will happen when you push yourself hard enough to break down the muscle fibres. The trouble is you don't want these knots to stay because they can inhibit the way your muscles contract which in time can minimise results. If your muscles aren't contracting properly you will not see the progression from your workouts. Massages can really help reduce knots within the muscle but this type of treatment is a luxury one and isn't something we can all afford to have. Foam rollers on the other hand are a better option for you....
Using The Roller
Having a foam roller is one thing, actually using it is another. Most people I know that own one rarely have it out and use it, probably because they know it is going to cause them some form of pain. It's true, foam rolling is not a pleasant experience however it is an effective one, especially if you want to continually see great results. You should use the roller to iron out any knots your body has, (if this is your first time using it you may find you have quite a few) and this experience can be quite painful. When you find a knot in the muscle it is important to stick on it to try and break it down. It may take a few minutes for the knot to disperse and this will help free up tension within the muscle and allow for greater contractions.
Why is it good to roll pre workout? Well, another great fact about foam rolling is the way it generates blood flow to an area. When you warm up a muscle you are basically telling your body that this area is what you will be working on. Let's say for instance you are going to be training legs and before you start you roll out your quadriceps and hamstrings for a few minutes. The rolling greatly increases blood flow to the area and allows the muscles and joints to full warm up properly before big lifts such as squats.
Flexion and Extension
When you find a knot it is really important that you help mobilise it as best as you can. So, above I spoke about rolling over it but another way is flexing and extending the muscle through its range of motion to rid it. When you roll over the knot, hold over the knot by placing your weight through the roller and then flex the muscle to help release it. Performing several repetitions of this will greatly increase your chances of releasing any knots within the muscle area.
As soon as your workout is over, grab your protein shake and head over to the mat area where you can use your roller. Rolling out the area you have just worked on will accelerate your recovery process meaning you can work those muscles quicker than before. The more times you use the roller post workout, the quicker you will be able to get back into the gym and workout. It's a win, win scenario with a foam roller and the best bit about it is you can take one with you wherever you are.