What is a foam roller?
When I went out to L.A. to film the new P90X2 Shoulders & Arms video, I had no idea what a foam roller was. We were just starting the warm-up routine, and I’m sitting there, looking at this thing wondering what the heck I was going to do with it! For those of you who don’t know, it’s this long cylinder shaped foamy thing that is used to stretch out the muscles. After using it for the first time, I was impressed with how great I felt afterwards! However, I was still confused as to how exactly to use it, and all of my questions about it were answered yesterday during the P90X2 Recovery workout.
First of all, there are 2 types of foam rollers. The cheaper one is flat and the more expensive and more durable one has all these bumps or knobs all over it. My buddy has the regular one and I have the one with the little knobs. I’m not going to lie, the one I have looks like some sort of battle weapon, and it sure feels like one too, but I will get to that in a bit. For the first half of the workout we did Yoga moves, but the second half, which was about a half hour long, was dedicated to the foam roller. This is where the creepy music comes in. This thing might look like fun, but it’s not even close to it. What you do is spend about a minute or two on each major muscle group, and once you find a spot that hurts, you’re supposed to stay on that spot until the pain goes away. For example, to work your calf, you put it on the foam roller (with as much weight as you want) and move it around SLOWLY until you find a spot that is tight or hurts. When you do you hold your calf there until the knot goes away and the muscle relaxes. It’s very important that you DON’T just roll back and forth for fun, or you will be using it the wrong way.
The knobby foam roller is painful, there is no denying it. Was it enjoyable? Heck no, but I tell you what, my muscles felt more relaxed and stretched out than they have in a LONG time! In fact, when we got done and did some flexibility moves, I was shocked as to how much my flexibility had increased in just a half hour of working my muscles. For example, when doing some hamstring stretches in the beginning, I could barely touch the ground, but after using the foam roller, I was able to put more of my hand on the ground. It was a small change, but a big change for me personally because I am NOT a flexible person! In fact, Tony Horton makes fun of me quite a bit in the P90X2 Shoulders & Arms video about it.
The foam roller is a GREAT tool to use to relax and stretch out your muscles, and something that I’m going to use as much as possible. One of my goals for this round of P90X2 is to increase my flexibility, and I think it’s definitely going to be possible now that I know how to use the foam roller properly. BTW, if you order a P90X2 Deluxe or Ultimate Package, a P90X2 foam roller comes with it!