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Foam Rolling: Should You Do It?

woman demonstrating foam rolling the IT band

Foam rolling is a very common recovery tool among athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Simply pop your head inside a gym here in Bethesda and you will likely see several people lying on the ground, rolling on these objects. Many people now own foam rollers for home use. We are often asked about them as they are also commonly used in sports physical therapy.

How do you know if you should foam roll? If you are already using this tool, should you continue?

Like most things, it depends. More specifically, it depends on why you are using the foam roller. Foam rollers do not “break up” tissue as is often believed. Our body is not that fragile. Could you imagine what your body would do lifting weights if tissues could be drastically changed by a round piece of foam?

However, if you are using the foam roller because it feels good and the routine of “rolling out” helps to get you in the right mindset for training (if used prior to exercise) or recovery, keep it up. The sensory input of the roller moving up/down the body’s tissues can feel good, similar to a massage and often helps people relax.

A foam roller is not going to do any harm. Whether or not you should use one depends on the reasons why you are doing so.

If you have any further questions about this or something else in the field of physical therapy/strength and conditioning please feel free to contact Dr. Cohen or Dr. Immermann.

E-mail: info@cohenhealth.com
Phone: (240) 686-5609

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