The foam roller as well as the massage stick are not only a great tools but a "must have" for any Karateka and dojo. Both serve as a valuable tools for your recovery and muscle hygiene.
The use of a foam roller can be for rehab, prevention and management of chronic problem areas. Foam rolling is a form of self-tissue massage (called self-myofascial release) that can be very helpful to recover from a strenuous workout. It helps to relax tight muscles and can massage out those “knots” (adhesions) that arise from inactivity, overload or repetitive moves/activities.
The foam roller helps to restore the muscle to its original length by relaxing it, which is crucial to keep muscles in balance (reciprocal inhibition vs. altered reciprocal inhibition). Golgi Tendons (Golgi Tendons connect muscle to the bones) sense your muscle tension and respond through the pressure of the foam roller with muscle relaxation. This response is caused by your own body weight resting against the foam roller.
Five to ten minute sessions before your workout routine are ideal.
Foam rolling with static stretching can be a great way to recover and to relax on a day off. Any athlete can help to prevent injuries and with that stay longer in the game with the help of the foam roll by putting it into the workout routine!
Areas you can use the foam roll
Thoracic Spine Mobility
Iliotibia Tract (IT-Band)
Gastroc & Soleus
Tips on using the foam roller
Find a tender spot in the area you are working and keep rolling in increments of 2 inches on this spot until discomfort starts to diminish. This will take some time and you will feel discomfort. The amount of discomfort you are experiencing depends on how tight your muscle(s) in this area are. The tighter the more prone you are for injuries! Therefore spend extra time on tight areas. Once the area is free of discomfort and can be easily rolled over continue regularly to keep this area relaxed.
You can use the foam roll as a warm-up tool as well as for cool down after a workout. Feel free to variate the exercises and areas to address your particular needs.
Warning: These recommendations are intended for healthy populations and should not be taken as treatment for injuries unless prescribed by a health professional. KarateCoaching does not take any liability for the shown exercises. All exercises at your own risk.
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