Staff Expert Series: Foam Rolling

This week, we are talking about Foam Rolling with Chris Spyke, Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids Assistant Store Manager.

Chris will walk us through the benefits of foam rolling, showcase a few different movements we can do with an an assortment of product we offer at Gazelle Sports, and answer a few common questions about foam rolling.

Recovery Products Featured:

Questions & Answers

Is there a big difference between flat foam rollers vs. ones with knobs? (12:25)
It's really a personal preference. A firmer foam roller will dig in a big deeper. If you are a beginner, we recommend EVA Foam, it will definitely be your softer option. Whereas the Foam Roller Hollow Core has a hollow design where the plastic helps keep its shape and make its firmer.

How can foam rolling help your IT band? (13:16)
This is the most popular area asked about. Especially for runners. We recommend to roll along the IT using The Orb Massage Ball, as there are some quad muscles that could be causing some of that tightness. More often that not, it's actually a problem of the hips. The hip routine that was shown in the video (5:00) with the glutes, the side and the front is where you really want to target. Hitting the glutes and the hip flexors will help target the IT band.

How much is too much foam rolling? (14:00)
Foam rolling should be done everyday, or most days. It's something runners and walkers should have in their routine, just like stretching. There is not really a "too much" foam rolling, but there is as far as intensity goes. Consistency is better than intensity. 5 minutes everyday is definitely going to be better than twice a week for 20 minutes. It's important to have consistency and to target those areas frequently.

What are the most important muscles to roll out? (14:33)
Focus on whatever is nagging you at the time. Easy answer would be the calves. The first shown in the video (1:32) with the soleus is a great one for any runner or walker. Second choice would be the hips. It primarily depends on you and what feels tight at the time, but calves and hips are a good place to start.

How often should you foam roll? Before or after a workout? (14:58)
Both are a great answer. A lot of times foam rolling gets looped into recovery, which is absolutely true it does help recover your muscles, but there are amazing benefits beforehand for preparing your body for exercise as well.

How do you target hard to reach areas? (15:29)
There is definitely a lot of hard to get places. The hips are a great example. We recommend having an arsenal of tools because one always works better for a different area than the other. Using multiple tools is definitely the way to go, but the smaller products like the small Orb are really good at getting those "hard to get" spots.