Rock-N-Roll Your Pain Away

 

Last weekend, I experienced something new.  Something kinda strange, and something rather awesome.

My best friend casually asked:

“Want to go to a free rolling class this Saturday?”

“Sure.  But what’s a rolling class?”

“You’ve never been to a rolling class?  You are involved with ergonomics and wellness and you’ve never done roller exercises?”

Well, the truth is, I have heard about exercises with a foam roller, knew that people swear by it, but never had any first hand experience with it, so I decided to check it out.

When we got to the class my friend and instructor, Branch T.J.Nautu walked in with a broad smile on his face and said “Ready to Rock -n- Roll?”

 

We all had our foam roller and yoga mats and proceeded to take his instruction which involved doing some deep squats noting where we felt any stiffness or soreness and pay attention to our range of motion.   Then what followed were a series of very slow exercises where we would place the roller under, say our left calf.  Place our right leg over our left to increase weight and pressure, lift the rest of our body up with our arms (think sitting but raising your tush slightly off the gound), and the weight of our body against the rollers released tension in the muscles.  We were told to specifically roll ourselves slowly over the foam roller until we literally found a painful spot and then stay on that very spot.

Painful spot?  I rolled back and forth and was sure I didn’t have any “spots” since I have not felt any pain anywhere in a long while and then BAM!  I found one.  And then another and another.  We worked our calves, quads, hamstrings, IT band, glutes and groin muscles.   I thought the class would never end.  But when we did squats at the end of the class, I was amazed at how much deeper I was able to squat and how much lighter and limber my muscles and body felt!

The idea behind these rather painful (but painful in a good way), is to release tension and trigger points (knots) in your muscles.  A fancier term to describe what’s going on here is Self-Myofascial Release.

The deep compression or pressure points that roller exercises provides, helps to break up adhesions and scar tissue and relax muscles while promoting healthy blood flow to your muscles, tendons and ligaments.   This in turn restores and promotes healthy tissue and keeps your muscles supple and functioning optimally.

Some additional benefits are reported to be far reaching which include:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased flexibility
  • Strengthening of your body

So, despite the oohs and aahhs (in that good but painful way), the benefits that I immediately felt after class means that I will look into this further and check out exercises for the back and upper body as well.

Until the next time!

Vivienne

 

 

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