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Old 11-04-09, 08:59 AM   #1
enfilade
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"Stop along the way on tender points as they are usually knots..

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds until the knots release."

i've just read this on a foam roller instructions page. i can never tell where the knots are. i just roll the muscles out evenly for a minute or two. at the moment it hurts because i haven't been rolling long.. but it's a good pain, so i'll carry on.

my question is, can you feel the tender points when you're on a foam roller?



how often do you use the roller.. everyday? twice a day?

i rolled my quads out for too long yesterday and felt some bruising immediately afterwards. seems better now but i don't know when i should resume rolling. should the muscles have rest days every so often to speed up healing?
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Old 11-06-09, 12:34 AM   #2
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When you use the roller, you're trying to deactivate the Golgi tendon organs. Basically, these are protective structures that will cause the muscle to contract to prevent it from being lengthened at an unsafe speed or to such a degree.

Since the Golgi tendon organs are located in the tendons (duh), you typically want to roll from origin to insertion (also usually least to most tender to the pressure). For your legs, this equates to downward from the hip, and downward from the knee. You want to roll downward slowly, stopping on tender points until the sensation has become about a third of what it was. You don't need to bounce around or roll back and forth. Pressure is the key, and rolling around may be irritating rather than relaxing, as can too much pressure. If anything, you're probably inclined to use more pressure than is probably healthy. This is a common problem with self-massage. You'll generally find the most tender spots just superior to the knees, hips, and ankles.

Having trouble reaching knots in the upper back? I like to use a tennis ball, though be careful to modulate the pressure carefully.

I like using the roller once a day. Every protocol for eating or exercise recommends a break day to help you mentally recharge and encourage compliance. Physically, though, I can't think of a reason to take the day off from flexibility and relaxation work. Most of us will also miss days here and there just by the course of life, so there isn't such a need to build in rest.

It's easy to overdo the pressure on a roller. Try rolling both legs simultaneously, if you've been doing them together. See if this gives you adequate pressure. You want enough for you to feel tight spots, but you want the tenderness to abate while maintaining the pressure. It's similar to static stretching in that regard, actually.
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Old 11-06-09, 09:58 AM   #3
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thanks tadawdy.. great information.

rolling out both quads simultaneously, which is the only possible way because of the pain (all the weight on one quad would be too much), seems to cause bruising if i stay on for more than 20-40 seconds.

i have skinny/muscular/wiry legs.. would it be healthier to use a softer foam roller for sensitive muscles like the quads? any cheaper alternative to buying a soft foam roller.. maybe wrapping this one in a coat or jumper?

rolling out the ITBand has become easier since i started (2-3 weeks ago), it's still painful after a few minutes, but it's a healthier pain than on the quads.

i still can't distinguish 'tight spots' from regular discomfort though. hopefully they'll just dissipate with frequent rolling..
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Old 11-06-09, 12:25 PM   #4
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you could try putting the roller in a thick towel to make it softer. You can also do one leg at a time, with the other foot and arms supporting some, so you can control the angle of the pressure better. This can make the roller a lot more comfortable/productive. If your quads are just sore from riding hard, it's going to feel different from simple tightness.

You're definitely not alone in hurting at the IT band. That one kills me every time. My quads are usually fine, though.
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Old 11-08-09, 07:42 PM   #5
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There are other foam rollers that are a bit softer. Which foam rollers do you use? What color are they?

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Old 11-09-09, 04:28 AM   #6
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well i'm definately doing something wrong. very sore quad muscles today after doing 10-15 minutes on the roller yesterday. (no riding for 6 weeks due to knee problems).


for me, the drawbacks seem to ruin the whole point of rolling:

for example.. when i'm rolling out my IT Band, most of my weight is supported by my wrists and my other leg (some positions i can use my elbow which bears weight better). there's so much strain on the quad muscles of the supporting leg. i pulled one of them yesterday (rectus femoris i think) whilst rolling my ITB, so now i'll have to give it a few days rest.

then there's the added pressure on the wrists.. which are pretty skinny on me and don't take the weight well. feel like i'm setting myself up for wrist problems later on.

anyway, i'm not going to write off the roller just yet. i'll give it several weeks atleast and see if my body adapts to it. in the meantime if you know any techniques to take some weight of the wrists i'd appreciate it.

cheers

Last edited by enfilade; 11-09-09 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 11-10-09, 01:43 AM   #7
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I'd suggest pulling up a video on youtube. There are lots of them, and may give you an idea for different body positions.

I personally use a yoga mat under my body for comfort, and support myself over the length of my forearm. This works for me, though I have olecranon bursitis in one elbow that pops up form time to time and then I have to adjust.

I have found the roller to be a godsend. YMMV.
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Old 11-10-09, 10:49 AM   #8
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10-15 minutes sounds like way too long. I started using the foam rollers after going to pysical therapy for IT band problems. The therapist suggested rolling a 'few' times. I'm usually roll each each leg while prone 2-3 times and down the lateral side of each leg 2-3 times. Start to finish maybe 5 min.

FWIW, my chiropracter said it was fine to roll your back once a day as long as it didn't hurt
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Old 11-11-09, 12:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishermba2004 View Post

FWIW, my chiropracter said it was fine to roll your back once a day as long as it didn't hurt
I would think the only thing dangerous about rolling your spine is if you were deforming the spine. I assume this is what you mean. The roller works for the lower back, working on each side of the spine. I use a tennis ball around my scapulae.
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Old 11-14-09, 08:06 PM   #10
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well over the past two days my right wrist, right shoulder and both elbows have developed a clicking. over the past month i've been applying extra weight onto the upper body with the foam roller exercises.

could this be a sign i'm training wrong?

there's no pain with the clicking, but it seems odd it should suddenly start in each arm joint in the space of a few days.



exercise routine: usually i do a 5 minute cardio warm-up, then stretch and stregthen the leg muscles, this takes between 10 and 50 minutes, depending on what condition my legs are already in. then i roll.. rolling takes 3 to 15 minutes.

i'll admit, i haven't been stretching my upper body before rolling. likely to be the cause? i do a few short stretches but i don't think it's enough by any means.

how do you guys roll? time on the roller/order/stretches

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thanks
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