A common belief in the world of athletic physical therapy in Chevy Chase or Bethesda is that athletes and active people must consistently foam roll for recovery. This belief is further perpetuated in the world of performance training. Simply pop your head inside any gym here and you will see what I mean!
Like most things, foam rollers have a time and place. “Rolling out” often feels good and the routine of doing so prior to training helps many people get into the proper mindset for training. Furthermore, the sensation of foam rolling may help the body relax when you are not exercising.
Foam rollers are a great tool for these reasons, however some people claim that these tools “break up” knots in muscles and “smooth” out the tissues of the body. This is simply not the case.
The human body is very resilient. If it were fragile enough to be structurally altered by a foam roller then we would be in a lot of trouble! Could you imagine what would happen to your body when lifting weights if it could be drastically changed by a round piece of foam?
The good news is that a foam roller is not going to do any harm, however whether or not you should use one depends on what you are looking to get out of it.
**Credit for image “Foam rolling on back” by PTPioneer is licensed under CC BY 2.0.www.ptpioneer.com