Running hurts. Right? Can we agree on that?
Well, of course, we can. If it doesn’t, you’re not doing it right.
If you agree with me there you probably also agree that you want it to hurt less. One of the easiest ways to do that is myofascial release.
That is why you’ll need to find either the best massage stick or the best foam roller for runners.
- Why Should You Foam Roll?
- Foam Rolling Explained
- Key Elements to Keep in Mind Before Buying
- TOP 7 Best Foam Rollers & Massage Sticks for Runners 2020
That is why myofascial release, commonly called foam rolling is crucial.
Specifically for runners, the repetitive action of running inherently damages fascia.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a problem you can avoid, but there are steps you can take to promote the well being of your body before and after exercising.
We’ll get into the details later in another article, but here is what you need to know for now.
Foam Rolling helps push oxygenated blood through the fascia and promotes healthier fascia. This helps to increase mobility, reduce pain, and quicken recovery.
This is where foam rollers and massage sticks come in.
Why Should You Foam Roll?
Foam rolling can be utilized for every style of runner regardless of age or gender.
The idea of keeping your body healthy and repairing muscles can be applied to nearly everyone.
This is why foam rolling is important.
By adding this step to your daily work out, you should notice an increase in performance and recovery.
The main purposes of foam rolling are focused in several categories:
- Increase recovery.
- Relieve aches and pains.
- Promote the health of your muscles and body.
Foam Rolling Explained
First off, as we have alluded to already, there are two different types of rollers.
- Foam Rollers
- Massage Sticks
As we’ll get into later, foam rollers are less portable, but more effective, allowing for a much easier full body scan and getting much deeper into your muscles.
Massage sticks are commonly used on the sideline of sporting events or on the road before a big race.
These are not as effective at getting deep, but still help improve blood flow in target areas, an important tool.
There are several different techniques including the right and wrong ways to foam roll.
None of these techniques are difficult to practice at home and require little instruction to receive the full benefit of the practice.
How easy is it?
Even taking one minute to focus on specific muscle groups is better than not foam rolling at all.
By focusing on certain muscle groupings at a time, you can actively repair and concentrate on one area at a time.
How to Foam Roll
Let’s break down how to actually use a foam roller. We can pull apart foam rolling into three different categories:
When you are rolling, make sure to roll out a couple inches at a time for the muscle group you’re focusing on.
This is best done with the foam roller on the ground while you use your body weight to press down on top of the foam roller.
Rolling and Spans
Rolling and spans are two sides of the same coin.
Here they are defined:
- Rolling: Moving the roller up and down, usually on a sagittal plane from your feet to your head.
- Spans: Moving your body left and right on a lateral plane, usually without moving the foam roller.
Rolling is what most athletes do on a foam roller, so that is not particularly complicated.
If you want to be more effective, however, consider spans.
What’s a span?
When you feel a tender area, using the calf muscle as an example again, rotate your leg to laterally lean on the foam roller in the spot that feels most tender or tight.
This focuses directly on the muscle group and provides more direct pressure on that area. If more pressure is needed, cross your leg at the ankle.
For each of your muscle groups below, I recommend you both roll and span.
After about two minutes on each muscle group, your muscles should be stretched out and warm and while it may be slightly painful or uncomfortable while rolling, your muscles and fascia have been rejuvenated.
They now have fresh, oxygenated blood much more so than if you simply had taken your running shoes off and sat down on the couch.
The final exercise you can do with the foam roller is stretching.
The best way to do this is to actually use the foam roller as a fulcrum or pivot point on the muscle you are stretching out.
This allows for more pressure to be put on your focus muscle group and allows for maximum recovery.
Remember always start from the ground up when foam rolling. This means you should start foam rolling the muscle groups in your legs from the tops of your feet up to the glutes and your lower back.
Make sure to breathe.
Breathing allows for rich, oxygenated blood to be pushed through your muscle fascia. Breathing also acts as a reminder to foam roll slowly and not to rush.
Consistency is key.
Consistency is better than intensity. When you foam roll, particularly after a run, make sure to do the movements and frequency consistent from day to day.
Once a week is not enough!
Make sure to foam roll after every run regardless of intensity. You can even do this before you run, don’t just roll when you ache.
Key Elements to Keep in Mind Before Buying
There are tons of foam rollers on the market right now. It can be a bit overwhelming to see all the options.
The best foam rollers for runners in 2020 can be broken down into a couple categories.
You can decide which ones are best for you.
You need to consider the following:
Below, we give you our opinion on the best muscle roller for runners so that you can make your own educated purchase on the market.
TOP 7 Best Foam Rollers & Massage Sticks for Runners 2020
First up, foam rollers.
Next, massage sticks!
We hope you enjoyed our article and can confidently make your own decision on the best foam roller for runners.
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