As I stated in a previous post, my body has been ACHING from day after day of competitive volleyball. My lower back and hamstrings have been especially sore after each match, and even worse after each tournament.
I have to admit that I haven't been very good about stretching both before and after playing. I am definitely going to make sure that I start stretching more, because my current routine is not working. For me, having tight muscles makes me more susceptible for injury, and I am unable to be as flexible and quick on the court, which also makes me less consistent and more timid.
Last week, I freaked out because I temporarily lost my fitbit, I scoured my house, and eventually found it right next to where I'd turned into a blob on my couch after a tough game. In the process of destroying my bedroom looking for the tiny, pink fitbit, I discovered that I already owned a foam roller! Of course, it was unwrapped, dusty, and completely foreign to me. I vaguely remembered returning a foam roller to Dick's a year or so ago, but I have no idea where this foam roller came from. It must have been a gift from the fitness gods! ;-)
In any event, this evening, I opened up my Fitness Gear 24" Foam Roller and went to work. Note: I have a black and pink version, and a percentage of the purchase goes to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It looks like it's not currently available online.
Let me tell you know: It was such an amazing feeling! It kind of hurt, but it hurt so good! Per the advice of some articles I've read about using foam rollers, I stretched when I was done rolling out the sore spots, and now I feel like I'm ready to go and play in another tournament TONIGHT!
How to Use a Foam Roller
There are a lot of sites that have information on how to use foam rollers for both exercise and stretching. I used mine for stretching, and decided to focus on my hamstrings, quads, and back. This Oxygen Magazine article was a good starting point. I decided to run through all of these exercises, and the area that felt the best was the hamstring. If you've never tried it, what are you waiting for?!
What are the Different Types of Foam Rollers?
There are many different types of foam rollers. Mine is 24", which wasn't too big for me, and it definitely feels pretty firm. I have some friends who recommended The Stick, and they say it works wonders for them. I found this helpful video on youtube, which goes over several different styles of rollers. Mine is most similar to the black one in the video, for those who are watching.
Did it Work?
Yes! Yes! Yes! This foam roller rocked my world! I'm definitely going to be rolling my big butt all over this bad boy, and I don't care who knows it! Make sure that you stretch afterwards to feel the difference, and don't just roll it over the spot for 2 seconds; make it count!
I couldn't resist...
What in the world is in that (gym) bag? What you got in that (gym) bag? A foam roller? What kind do you own? What are your favorite areas to target?