foam lamination

May 23, 2022 0 Comments

Foam roll – what is it?

If you’re a gym member, you’ve probably seen foam rollers in the functional area. They are the cylindrical tubes that range from soft, pointed to hard as rocks. When foam rollers first hit gym floors, many weren’t sure how to use them or even what they were. Now, they are a staple in the schedule of most fitness fanatics. Foam rolling, also known as SMR or self myofascial release, involves applying the correct amount of pressure to specific trigger points on your body.

What are the benefits of foam rolling?

The benefits of SMR are many. First, SMR increases blood flow throughout the body. One of the unexplained problems facing people these days is poor circulation. So before you buy all the compression sleeves on the market, give SMR a try to see if the problem subsides. SMR also helps increase your range of motion, thus improving your overall movement. Additionally, SMR can lower your risk of injury and help you recover faster through intense training sessions.

When is the optimal time to do SMR?

One of the most common questions from clients is “when should I do my SMR/Foam Rolling, before or after training?” The answer is both. Before your workout, it’s ideal to foam your trigger points and then get into your dynamic stretching routine. A post-workout cooling foam roll is also beneficial, but if time is short in the gym, opt to do it before your workout.

What causes trigger points/tight muscles?

Another common question from customers is why do they have these specific trigger points and pain areas when using foam rollers? This is a question that can be different for each individual. Many factors influence why we have these areas of pain and tight muscles. As we age, our fitness level and flexibility can decrease, which can cause strain on the muscles, but some of the more common factors to consider are:

Amount of training and intensity involved






Rest (lack of it)

Other lifestyle factors

How does SMR work?

By putting pressure on the foam roller itself, the deep compression helps break down or relax tight muscles that can form between the layers. Below are some photos of the most common foam rolling techniques. After determining your trigger areas, gently roll over those areas for 20 to 30 seconds until you begin to feel the pain dissipate. SMR is a technique, similar to training, that takes time to improve. Focus daily on those areas that are the most painful, and a vast improvement in fitness, flexibility, and well-being will soon be evident.

Typical foam rolling motions

1. Gastrocnemius (calf muscle)

One of the most common places of tension is the calf area, especially in women. Posture and high heels can exacerbate the pain, but by making sure the muscles are broken, your squat technique will improve dramatically.

Position the roller just below the top of your calf muscle. Push yourself up for maximum pressure and roll back and forth until you feel the tightest part of the muscle. Then rotate or hold it static over the tight muscle until the pain subsides. Repeat on the other side.

2. TFL/IT Band

The TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) located at the top of the hip connects to the IT Band (iliotibial band) lower towards the knee. This is another area that can become extremely tight and develop painful adhesions. Again, this can affect the way you squat and perform other exercises as well.

Lying on your side, place the roller under your hips. Use your elbows to push yourself up and slowly start rolling from the TFL to the end of the IT band. It is recommended that when starting this roll a softer roller is used until the flexibility in this area improves.

3. Adductor/VMO

In a prone position, place the roller on the inside of the thigh. Support yourself on your elbows and with pressure, rotate from the top of your adductors (inner thigh) to the top of your inner knee (vastus medialis obliquus).

4. Piriformis and glutes

The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the hip joint near the gluteus maximus. As this muscle is close to the sciatic nerve, when it is tight it can cause the nerve to become inflamed and go into spasm.

Sitting on the roller, cross one leg over the other, lean back and roll back and forth until the pain is relieved. This move will also help relieve tightness in your glutes.

5. latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi, also known as the lats, is one of the most overlooked areas in SMR. The lats are a large muscle group and if they are tight they can cause a number of problems. It is the origin of the most common problems: tension in the neck, pain and dysfunction in the shoulders and back pain in general.

Lying on your side, place the roller between your armpit and upper back. Raise your hips and rotate back and forth until the tension begins to decrease.

6. Muscles of the back

It’s not always recommended to use the foam roller on your back shown in the photo above, as the roller doesn’t tend to get into stubborn stress areas. But if your back just needs a full stretch, this position can be a huge relief. If there are specific areas around the back that need a little more detail, a tennis ball or massage ball would be better suited for this.

7. Quads/Thighs

The quads are also a fairly large muscle group and tend to build up a lot of lactic acid with training. Without a doubt, after sabotaging the leg extension machine, this is fantastic for stretching the muscle and providing much-needed relief.

With the foam roller in the group, gently lie on top making sure the roller is on top of your quad. Supporting yourself on your elbows, roll up and down slowly until the tension is released.


SMR is an extremely important technique to add to your current training and conditioning program. Not only will it improve your technique and performance in the gym, but it will work to prevent injuries and decrease recovery times. So be sure to foam roll daily.

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