Foam rolling is a great way to “self massage” your body. Some people respond better to foam rolling than to stretching, others find that stretching works best. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to successfully managing your body. However, in our experience, some form of regular body maintenance is definitely better than none (particularly if you are over 40)!
The ultimate form of muscle release is a professional sports massage, where a trained expert can identify the tight and painful spots in your body and use a variety of different techniques to help release them. Although a weekly sports massage would be ideal, the costs quickly mount up. Foam rolling for 5 – 10 minutes every day is an easy, practical, and cost effective way for you to manage your body, which you can “top up” with a sports massage every now and then if you need to.
Sitting at work all day is one of the biggest contributing factors to developing a stiff lower back, stiff hips and stiff knees. That stiffness has the potential to affect your comfort and efficiency on the bike. You should really think of foam rolling as a way to reverse the effects of sitting down all day, rather than just aiding recovery from cycling.
A lot of people make the mistake of stopping their stretching/rolling routines when their training reduces. If, for example, you train less because you have a very busy week of work, then you should actually stretch/roll more rather than less to try and keep your body supple after all of that sitting time.
How to Foam Roll your Quads, ITB and Calves
Cyclists have a tendency to develop tight quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower backs and calves. A foam roller can be used to treat all these areas.
We recommend using a 90 cm foam roller rather than one of the short 45cm rollers. The longer roller gives you the additional option of lying on it to stretch out your upper back and shoulders.
In this video we concentrate on the quads, ITBs and calves.
Make sure you watch the video before you start rolling. It will show you the correct way to use your foam roller and more importantly what not to do when foam rolling. Using incorrect technique can aggravate tendons and joints and cause inflammation.
Your first foam roller session is likely to prove quite painful Don’t be put off. It hurts because your muscles are so tight. You need to persevere and aim to foam roll 3 or 4 times a week for 5 – 10 mins. After 3 or 4 weeks it will be a lot less painful, and you will be enjoying the benefits already.
If you are consistent, and you roll every week throughout the training program we guarantee you will notice the difference in your performance, quicker recovery and a reduced rate of injury.