Foam Rolling: Guest Post from Chris McCaffrey of St. Pete Running Company

Foam RollingChristopher McCaffrey is a friend who I met though my association with the St. Pete Running Company, mentioned more than a few times on these pages and over at Fat Slow Triathlete. Chris is a ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, a Newton Good Form Running Coach, a TriggerPoint MCT Instructor, and if that’s not enough, he is also a Spinning Instructor. He provided me with the following article in a Q&A format to share with my readers. If you have any questions you can send them to me directly and I will make sure to get the answer for you from Chris.

Foam Rolling: Who should use it?
Everyone can benefit from foam rolling whether you are an elite athlete or beginner walker.

There are two categories to be placed into: Athlete and Non-Athlete. The athlete is the person who sets goals, such as, a running or biking event; completes in a challenge, enters tournaments or performs for crowds on stage. The non-athlete lives without goals of competition, awards, and ceremonies to celebrate their athleticism.

Athletes can understand the need to foam roll easier than non-athletes, this is due to the fact they are constantly looking to perform better. Non-athletes could create the excuse of, “I don’t need to because I don’t train.” The truth of who would benefit is simple. Both. Just because you don’t compete or train does not mean you would not receive the same benefits of foam rolling.

Foam Rolling: What does it do?
Helps promote blood circulation into the muscles and speeds the recovery process.

When you have a knot in a water hose it does two things. Stops the natural flow of water and shortens the length of the hose. This can happen the same way with your muscles and blood flow. If you have kinks in your muscles, nutrient rich oxygenated blood cannot flow naturally to the muscles.

Foam Rolling: Where do you use it?
Remember the song, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes? Glutes Backs Hams Quads and Calves, is the new version. These are the key areas to hit with the foam roller.

Neck bone is connected to the toe bone and everything is held together with muscles, ligaments and tendons. People often ask, how long for each body part? I simply reply, as long as you have time for. There’s no real equation to solving the correct amount of time to foam roll. Just rolling when you can will provide benefits, the more you can get on the roller the more benefits you will receive.

Foam Rolling: When do you use it?
In the morning, before you train, after you train, and before you go to bed are four great opportunities to use a foam roller.

In the morning is great when you worked hard the previous day, plus it will help increase blood circulation and therefore increase your ability to make positive decisions. Before you train is a great time to prep or prime the body for the work about to be done. This will allow you to better use your muscles during your training and unlock your full potential for that training session while preventing injuries at the same time. After you train is another great time to dig a little deeper since the muscles have already been warmed up and would be more cooperative to lengthen and relax. Prior to bed allows you to increase nutrients to those achy body parts who worked very hard for you that day. Plus your body repairs itself most efficiently while you are sleeping.

Foam Rolling: Why do you use it?
To help promote the healing process in our body.

We all eat food, right? We all brush our teeth, right? If we use our muscles, we should brush our muscles, right? A foam roller is your toothbrush for your muscles. It helps keep things healthy and clean just like a toothbrush would for your mouth.

Foam Rolling: In Conclusion
We have one role as athletes; stay healthy and active. One of the ways to do so is with the use of a foam roller. Remember the song, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes or Glutes Backs Hams Quads and Calves to hit all areas. Using a foam roller either in the morning, before or after a training session, or right before bed will help keep your body healthy. Just remember the main focus and goal of foam rolling, help promote the healing process in our bodies.

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