Self Myofascial Release for Athletes: How To Foam Roll

Myofascial Release, a hands on muscle recovery technique, can be done using just a foam roller. For some athletes (like, Tom Brady), going to a highly trained specialist is the answer to their longevity and playing careers.

For the average athlete however, appointments several times per week isn’t the answer. It’s critical that we learn how to care for our bodies and how to properly recover after practices and workouts.

Foam rolling helps athletes by alleviating tension in muscles and improving blood flow throughout, speeding the recovery process after a workout. Many athletes, Tom Brady included, choose to roll prior to a workout session. More on that to come.

How To Foam Roll

When it comes to foam rolling, for beginners, try a foam roller that’s a little bit softer. Amazon Basics has one that should suffice. The biggest key with learning to foam roll is avoiding bony areas and your spine.

For most athletes, proper rolling and recovery focuses on the lower body. This means rolling on major muscle groups like your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, IT band and more. Again, the key with foam rolling is avoiding rolling over bones or spine.

Should I foam roll before a workout?

If you haven’t read it yet, Tom Brady’s new book “The TB12 Method” covers the concept of “pliability” extensively. Essentially, what Brady and his body coach Alex Guerrero are referring to is loosening muscles via foam rolling or myofascial release. The book goes in depth in the entire process.

While there are arguments for and against pre workout foam rolling, it is widely accepted that pre-workout foam rolling is OK. In fact, at the NFL combine participants can often be spotted rolling between events.

Brady is a proponent of loosening muscles and working on overall “pliability” prior to a workout as well, going over benefits such as pre-habbing and overall flexibility. Brady uses a vibrating foam roller, but the general assumption here is that it’s to market his own product. A standard foam roller works just as well, coming in at a quarter of the price.