Can’t afford a deep-tissue massage? Use a foam roller after your workouts to increase circulation and ease knots in all your muscles.
Ever wondered about those foam logs you see people rolling around on at the gym? They’re called foam rollers, and they’re an effective — and inexpensive — addition to your workout. Used as part of a warm-up, rolling improves circulation and gets the body ready for movement. It also helps with recovery after your workout. Like a deep-tissue massage, foam rollers help break up knots that tighten your muscles, helping you stay injury-free. Use them to loosen up tight areas in your quads, calves or outer thighs.
“The basic technique for using a foam roller is to slowly roll the targeted area over the foam roller. Once you hit a trigger spot, hold at that spot for a few seconds, slowly working yourself away from the spot,” says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. “Use a foam roller with caution,” advises Hendricks. “When you hit the trigger spots, they can be very painful, and sometimes the foam rollers can cause mild bruising. Have a physical therapist show you how to properly use the roller when you’re trying it for the first time.”