Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adventures in Foam Rolling

I have a new obsession. . . Self-Myofascial release. . . better known as. . . FOAM ROLLING. . .

Seeing an image of my spine for the first time years ago was a true delight.  Sigh. . . my neck. . I don't know how it sits on my head. . . and my lower back. . .  wicked curved to the right.  I had mild scoliosis as a child, but the hormones associated with pregnancy exacerbated my condition.

In addition to a spine curving strangely to the right, I have had the pleasure of living with bunions since childhood.  My left bunion became so painful my parents allowed me to have it removed as a teenager.  Since the surgery my left foot is gorgeous enough to model footwear :-)  But,,, to this day my right foot remains untouched because, although worthy of being displayed in a science museum, my bunion does not hurt.  How does this relate to back issues?  Think gait and alignment.  Everything on my body pulls to the right.  When I get injured my back pulls to the right.  I walk differently on my right side.

About four years ago I attempted an inverted back bend pose in yoga and ended up with immobilizing back pain.  Carrying twins at about 7 pounds each to almost 37 weeks did not improve my situation.  Physical therapists offered no more advice than to strengthen my core (my core is strong despite having a c-section) and to be very aware of my posture.  The posture thing actually has helped.  Sitting with my back straight in the car or in a chair lessens the tension and has relieved me of some of my lower back pain issues.

I like to throw around some heavy weight at the gym on occassion.  It makes me feel strong and confident, but I HAVE to LISTEN to my back.  If I go really heavy one week, I must do less power moves the following week. 

All of this takes me to FOAM ROLLING. 

A few of the trainers at my gym promote foam rolling.  I dismissed it as a waste of time initially.  I have more important aspects of my fitness to train without rolling around on some foamy log.  Then I started working on my personal training certification, (I'm about 3/4 of the way through the process), and the program emphasized foam rolling as a viable tool for stretching.   I'm actually very flexible, so I thought,,, okay cool for future clients working towards a flexibility goal for optimal health,,, but I still dismissed it for myself .  UNTIL I threw out my back doing 200 lb deadlifts.  Yes I repped out a few, but I must have done one or two with incorrect form, because by the end of the week my back was not sore-it was hurting. 

Scared of missing weekend family fun and workouts I had planned the following week, out of desperation I grabbed up one of those foamy logs.  Now I'm obsessed! 

Here is a "Foam Rolling 101 Video" for you to view. 

Foam rolling hurts so good!  It is truly a self deep tissue massage!

Foam Rolling Tips, Facts and Guidelines:
  1. Called the "Poor Man's Massage"
  2. Helps to straighten bundled muscle tissues
  3. Gently roll over tender soft tissue areas
  4. Hold tender spots for 30 seconds
  5. Can be used before a workout for a warm up
  6. Can be used after a workout as part of your stretching routine
  7. Popular areas to roll out: Hamstrings, IT band, hip flexors, quadraceps
  8. Be careful rolling your back (especially lumbar) 
I am not a doctor.  Always consult a physician before embarking upon a new exercise program! 



  1. I have been using a foam roller for IT band issues related to running longer distances. It does really help. I have become a fan as well. I found you from the Blog Mingle. Your blog looks interesting. I am a new follower.

    1. Thank you for validating one of my new favorite activities :) So glad you are a new follower and appreciate you taking the time to comment. I will have to swing by your page as well!

  2. This is an awesome post! I have been thinking about trying this out!! Thanks for info.

    New follow from the blog hop! Hope you get a chance to stop by my blog.

    xo, Jersey Girl

    1. Hey Jersey Girl,,, cute:) Thank you for visiting Cave Princess. I hope you end up trying out foam rolling. Like I said,,, I was skeptical but now I literally can't wait to roll around the floor with my little log. Ha! I will make sure to visit you as well!

  3. Oh, I'm sold! I am always feeling in need of realignment.

    Stopping by to say "hi" and "thanks" for participating in the Aloha Friday HOp! Love that we get to learn from your journey to certified personal trainer-- how lucky are we?


    1. Don't tell my former chiropractor,,, but,,, I actually like foam rolling better :) It is great hearing from you, Nicole! I can tell your "blog journey" means something to you... very authentic... Look forward to continue following you!

  4. This would also be great for kids with sensory problems. My son and I do Occupational Therapy at home and this looks like an exercise that would incorporate into our routine! Thanks for posting this :) And thx for visiting me on FB. I am now your newest follower :)
    Great Family Fun!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me! I think this would be a wonderful tool. . . there are different colors (with various "tension" levels within the roller)... white is "softer" then blue.... Plus, there are various sizes and dimensions. I'm a believer :)

  5. It looks like I could have fun with my granddaughter doing this. I Love Your Blog!!! Saw it on Welcome Wednesday. Please follow me back at

  6. It feels so great! Thanks for stopping by. I will make sure to pay you a visit :)

  7. Funny that you wrote this. I have a foam roller that I never really used (because I really didn't know what to do) haha. I was cleaning house and glanced at the foam roller I have in the corner of my living room. Now I have a use for it!! Thank you for sharing this. Your video was so well done, informative and helpful!!

    1. Use it! Use it! Sometimes I just roll around on mine and find places I didn't even realize were tight :)

  8. This will be great for my son with autism. He has alot of sensory issues and loves deep pressure. Where did you purchase yours? Thanks for posting this!