Portland Personal Trainer | Why You Should Endure the Pain | Foam Rolling

Most clients dread the pain and awkward positions that accompany using a foam roll. While it is in fact usually quite painful, it is also a necessary part of your workout routine. Not only does it release tension in your muscles, but it aids in correcting muscle imbalances that can put you at risk for injury during everyday activities. Do you play a sport? Run? Cycle? Without foam rolling your risk of a sports related injury is significantly increased. Here’s why I encourage foam rolling daily.We are all familiar with the painful, hard lumps in their necks and backs that get worse with the stresses of everyday life. What most people don’t know is these “knots,” or trigger points, can be the cause of tightness throughout the body, and not just where the lump is felt. First, I’ll explain what a trigger point actually is: our muscles are made up of muscle fibers that are grouped together in small sections. When a muscle contracts, all of the fibers in each section contract together, shortening the muscle. When the muscle relaxes, the fibers move apart again and the muscle lengthens. A trigger point occurs when a section of fibers is overactive and stays in a contracted state, causing a tight spot that is hard to the touch. In addition, there is a clear sheath, called fascia, which covers every muscle and connects throughout our bodies forming one large sheet. When a trigger point forms, the fascia connects to the overactive muscle fibers and holds them in place, making it more difficult for that section to release. We end up with tight portions of our muscles and tight sections of fascia that pull in different directions and limit range of motion in our joints.When we have limited range of motion and imbalances in our muscles and joints, it affects even simple movements like walking. A person’s gait can be thrown off just by a tight IT band, which leads to compensation while walking, which eventually leads to injury. People often experience knee pain that is simply caused by tight muscles and fascia in the quadriceps and smaller muscles surrounding the knee.Here’s where the foam roll comes in. By rolling your muscles on the hard foam, you are allowing the fascia to loosen and release from the muscle fibers. Then by putting pressure on the trigger points with the foam roll, the fibers are able to release from their contracted state, much like in massage or trigger point therapy. If your muscles are trigger point-free and your fascia is loose, it allows greater range of motion and better movement patterns to occur during everyday activities and exercise. I recommend foam rolling every day, but especially before your workouts. Improvement is usually evident after three to four weeks of consistent rolling. Keep at it!Best of Health, Mallory StevensThe Art of Personal Training by Kisar Dhillon The Art of Personal Training by Kisar Dhillon107 SE Washington Street, Suite 137Portland, Oregon 97214(503) 953-0241