Foam rollers are cylinder-shaped trigger-point therapy tool used for stretching out sore muscles and relieving muscle tension. Foam rolling speeds up the process of Myofascial Release a.k.a muscle recovery, which increases blood flow and relaxes deep muscle tissue. Similar to yoga, foam rolling helps increase your flexibility, which is an awesome plus for any Nak Muay. [Related: 11 Tips To Improve Flexibility in Muay Thai]
If you’ve had a tough day in class, check out the foam rolling techniques below:
To relieve tense calf muscles, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out. Place the foam roller under the lower part of your calf. Position your hands directly under your shoulders and lift yourself up. Roll your calf muscles over the foam roller, back and forth.
It is not unusual to have sore thighs after kicking and drilling, foam rollers are great for this muscle group! Lie down on your side with your upper leg placed out in front of your lower leg. Place the roller under your lower hip and roll to your knee joint before rolling back to your hip. Roll as slowly as possible until your thigh muscles feel relaxed. Support yourself with your arms.
Sit down with the roller placed between your thighs. Lift yourself up using your hands, similar to what you did for the calf exercise, and roll yourself back and forth until you find a sensitive spot. Maintain pressure on the sensitive area for around 30-seconds until the muscles begin to relax.
Get into planking position with your higher leg crossed over your lower leg and place the roller under your hip. Roll from your hip to your knee slowly while applying pressure.
Upper Back + Neck
The last thing anyone wants is an aching back! The proper stance in Muay Thai can at times cause discomfort when you are first learning. Foam rolling is a great way to release the tension that can build up in your upper back and neck from day to day work and extended Muay Thai training.
Foam Rolling DON’Ts
Foam rolling is pretty easy and intuitive, however like all movements, there are some guidelines to prevent injury.
- Do not roll too fast.
Although it might feel great, rolling too fast does not give your muscles time to relax. Roll slowly to reap the trigger-point benefits.
- Do not spend too much time in one place.
Rolling over one spot for too long could potentially cause tissue or nerve damage. It is not recommended to spend more than 45-seconds in one sore area.
- Do not use bad form and posture.
Using the wrong form may cause you to put pressure on parts of your body that are not designed to support. This can lead to injury.
- Do not roll directly on an injury.
This wonderful piece of equipment is useful for treating soreness, but it is not helpful for actual injuries. Rolling on an injury can increase the severity of your injury. Avoid this at all costs. If you are unsure as to whether you are injured or sore, seek medical advice.
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