As it turns out, owning a foam roller is just the first step. Now the question becomes should you use it before or after you workout? Foam rolling has become quite popular and that is because these things really work for sore muscles. Whether you should use it pre-workout or post depends on your own goals and the results can vary. Let’s take a look at whether you should use it before or after.
Rolling Before Your Workout
Warming up muscles and stretching out before any exercise routine is important to avoiding injuries like sprains, tears, and undue muscle soreness. In fact, if you don’t have 5 minutes to warm up before stressing your body, you should skip the routine anyway.
Having said that, using your foam roller pre-workout is great for starting the process. Some people even make this their entire warmup session before a workout? The roller will increase blood circulation which is the first step to warmer muscles and better activation.
The massaging action will help reduce tension and relax muscles and tendons which leads to more mobility of muscles and joints. Tight spots will disappear and muscles will elongate, and heat. Foam rolling isn’t really a substitute for a warm-up but makes them more productive.
Check out my review of the top 6 foam rollers that really work.
Everything I just described will definitely have the tendency to relax you. This relaxing effect can hinder your enthusiasm to give your all during your workout. Instead of being jacked up to exercise you could find your self reaching for your protein shaker and thinking about a nap.
After Your Workout
You crushed it! You’ finished running, lifting, or riding an exercise bike and you are pumped all day. That is until the next morning when muscles are so sore you hate to move anything.
Foam rollers to the rescue. Speed up your recovery time after exercising with a few minutes of rolling out the kinks. Many advocates suggest the best time to roll is afterward. You will quickly rejuvenate muscles with oxygen, nutrient, and water-rich blood circulation as you roll the tension and soreness out. This process helps speed and increase the recovery process.
Immediately after a workout, I am still hyped up and ready to take on the world. If I’m exercising before work, or during a break, I have plenty of energy to finish the day. On the other hand, after a few minutes of massaging my body with a foam roller, I might look at my watch and decides it’s smarter to take a snooze?
What’s The Answer?
So, now you are just as confused as when you started, right? Here’s what you should do to decide for yourself: Start using the thing! In fact, try rolling muscles with it both before and after.
If you already have a warm up routine, I would not advise you to replace it with a foam roller. However, you can add this to your routine and see if it doesn’t make you more lose and flexible.
Even more importantly, use it when you are through. Personally, I think this is where you will get the most benefits. Don’t focus on the same area of your body for more than 30-60 seconds, or you could wind up with soreness from the roller itself.
It’s best to think of it as an important tool at your disposal. I’ve given you my knowledge from my own use of it, but only you can decide the best time and strategy for yourself. And that takes experimentation on your part.
To get the best results from foam rolling, don’t bother concentrating on just one area or muscle. Try to think of them as groups and massage connecting muscles. Don’t get hung up on one area and overwork it.
The benefits of a foam roller are the same whether you use it before or after your workout. Try it both times and see which fits your needs and schedule, but be assured it works.