Should You Recommend Foam Rolling Exercises For Your Client?

Have you seen people foam rolling in the gym before and wondered if this is just another fitness fad, or whether it's actually doing something?

Are you a personal trainer who is great at helping your client bulk up through increasing the intensity of their training, BUT you’re seeing many of your clients returning to you with gripes and nagging pains in places where they shouldn’t be?  Are these cramps and pains interfering with your personal training client’s ability to squat just a bit deeper, or run just a bit longer and faster?

If this is the case, as a professional personal trainer you should stop dead in your tracks right now, and re- think your client’s training goals entirely!

A smart personal trainer doesn’t just work to improve the stamina and strength of their client.  Proper training goes beyond watching them perform repetitions, or bench pressing until failure.  Personal trainers should also want to increase client’s range of motion, while also minimizing, or eliminating any pain doing so.

But why is this so important?

Because your client’s pain and limited range of motion could be preventing them from getting to the next level in their training program!

If you read my recent blog on how scars can leave lasting effects and cause chaos in the fascial network of the body, you'll understand how releasing scar tissue can stop the pain cycle and get your client to the next level.

But, wait a minute…now you have to be wondering what releasing scar tissue has to do with anything, and where foam rolling fits into this equation?

Foam Rolling, also known as SELF Myofascial release can eliminate scar tissue and increase mobility through movements that require greater range of motion such as squats, or power cleans.

When you work on your client’s MOBILITY,  you are in turn helping your client increase their strength, endurance and optimize their overall performance!  

Doesn’t that sound like a win- win to you?

If you aren’t convinced check out what the recent research has to say.

In a  recent study by Macdonald et al.,  the use of foam rollers was examined  as part of a warm up, maintenance and recovery technique to enhance muscular performance.  What they found will surprise you!

  • Timing: Results within this study showed an increase in knee joint range of motion after only TWO minutes of Foam Rolling.  A 12% increase in range of motion was noted in the quadriceps after only TEN minutes of foam rolling.
  • Density: Mechanical stress application was applied for only TWO minutes, but at very high intensity. The study found that with just an individual’s body mass and the density of the foam roller, the fascia was able to recreate its pliable structure.

This is great, right? Absolutely!  But you need to learn how you can implement this for clients, without stepping outside of your scope of practice.  Here’s how:

1. Tell them about the benefits of Foam Rolling

a. Promote flexibility around surrounding musculature

b. Dramatically increase mobility at, or around each joint

c. Improves force production through power moves such as squats and power cleans

d. Aids in muscular imbalances and repetitive stress on joints

2. Explain how beneficial Self Myofascial Release is for the body

This method helps increase mobility by breaking up scar tissue through the use of a foam roller for just several minutes.  Foam rolling directly after a training session promotes self-myofascial release, potentially improving flexibility and mobility!  The practice of foam rolling can be easily incorporated into your client’s training sessions. Further, a personal trainer does want to be sure to have client’s immediately foam rolling at cool down for 5 to 10 minutes to gain maximum benefits.   

3. Tell clients about foam rolling exercise variations and recommend using various sized foam rollers, as well as advising to use a high-density roller

This method helps increase mobility by breaking up scar tissue through the use of a foam roller for just several minutes.  Foam rolling directly after a training session promotes self-myofascial release, potentially improving flexibility and mobility!  The practice of foam rolling can be easily incorporated into your client’s training sessions. Further, a personal trainer does want to be sure to have client’s immediately foam rolling at cool down for 5 to 10 minutes to gain maximum benefits.   

Below you can see just a few options for varying types of foam rollers. There is no doubt that foam rolling has benefits at any level within a training program. The illustrations below will give an idea on what foam rollers you should use at different training levels from beginner, intermediate and advanced foam rollers.  I would recommend a higher density roller when flexibility and pain are issues for clients.   

Foam rollers type differences

4. Print and give them the following free ISSA Foam Roller Technique Guide

The bottom line here is that foam rolling does have the potential to help your client's mobility, increase flexibility and minimize pain.  As a personal trainer, you need to remember that every part of your client’s program is important. Don't hesitate any longer and get it rollin’ if you want to increase your client’s strength and optimize upon their performance!

Foam Roller Techniques

 

  • Published on March 1, 2016
  • References

    Macdonald, Graham., Penney, Michael., Mullaley, Michelle., Cuconato, Amanda., Drake, Corey., Behm, David., Button, Duane. “An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without A Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning 27.3 (2013) p. 812-821

    Kim, Jun., Lee, Han Suk., Park, Sun Wook. “Effects of the active release technique on pain and range of motion of patients with chronic neck pain.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 27.8 (2015) p. 2461-2464

    Arun, B. “Effect of Myofascial Release Therapy with Motor Control Exercises on Pain, Disability and Transversus Abdominis Muscle Activation in Chronic Low Back Pain.” Research and Reviews: A Journal of Health Professions, STM Journals  3.3 (2013) p. 28-32

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