There are some that will say foam rolling can be traumatic to the muscle and surrounding tissue. In some ways they would be correct, most of my clients do not like foam rolling the first day they try it. However, similar to muscle contraction, toning and increasing strength, there is a certain amount of tearing down that must occur in order to rebuild stronger and more capable.
The first a most prominent benefit to foam rolling is increase circulation.
Foam rolling can be comparable to a deep tissue massage given the amount of your own weight put into the roller. Increase of blood circulation means increased oxygen and nutrients to the tissue which means increased recovery and rejuvenation.
By addressing areas with adhesions, scar tissue or muscle “knots”, you can open these areas for improved mobility as well as a more effective use of the full muscle.
Where should I foam roll? The areas which are more likely to have knots or carry stress from overload are usually my go-to. If an area is excessively tight aka shortened it is optimal to balance by helping them to length and release the knots or tension in the area.
Can I foam roll too much?
Normally I would laugh and say no, because I know the person in front of me is not going to do it as much as I’m recommending already but the truth is that yes, you can foam roll too much. Increased circulation comes with a certain amount of temporary inflammation. Key word being temporary, however, if your stimulating inflammation again before the previous has had time to recover, your adding inflammation to an area that is already inflamed.
Is pain a good sign?
I do not agree with the phrase “No Pain No Gain” it should be manageable. At first the foam roller can be uncomfortable but do not force or push through it. That response stimulates the fight or flight which is not what we want for relaxing an area. Take it one day at a time, do what you can without causing much pain, and as you are consistent with it will no longer cause you pain. At this point you will be well aware that the area is healthier than it was previously and functioning better.