You’ve finished your workout and you make your way to the quieter area of the gym to cool down and finish with some stretches.  You find people stretching and “rolling out”. So what are the benefits and should you give it a go?

I have used rollers for a long time, on myself after running on tight hammies and calf muscles and also with my clients at the end of a deep tissue massage. I recommend to all my clients to use one when they can.  My favorite kind are the TP Rollers, they have little nodules on them which you can work into trigger points and ease out sore areas on the muscle.

why use them?

When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas (known as “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is also called myofascial release.

By slowing rolling over various areas of your body, you'll help break up adhesions and scar tissue and speed up the healing and recovery process after your workout. Use it to loosen up common areas of tightness such as your outer thigh (iliotibial band, ITB), quadriceps, or upper back.

How does this help?

Essentially, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, or self-massage, that gets rid of adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue. ... Foam rolling also increases blood flow to your muscles and creates better mobility, helping with recovery and improving performance.

I regularly use a foam roller under my back after a busy day massaging my clients. It helps me to extend my back after flexing for a good part of the day. This can be applied to most “jobs” these days. Time spent at the computer and looking down at our phones for extended periods of time flexes the spine. By extending the back on the roller we can stretch and elongate the spine, which helps to ease out tension.

There are lots of ways to use your roller, I recommend buying one to have at home and then making an effort to use it every day, maybe just before bedtime. You can pack them away neatly and store them out of sight.

There are plenty of stretches available on YouTube and its great to watch something whilst you do it to get the correct posture.

I recommend;

Lie down with your back on the floor. Place a foam roller underneath your upper back and cross your arms in front of you, protracting your shoulder blades. Raise your hips off of the ground, placing your weight onto the roller. Shift your weight to one side, rolling the upper to mid back.

* Always check with your PT instructor if you are unsure.