Whether you have used them after a workout or not, it’s clear that recently, foam rollers have become as ubiquitous to a gym setting as treadmills.  And once you give them a try, it’s clear why these cylindrical sensations are so popular. In fact, you will see these rollers all over gyms in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston.  Whether its for Bootcamp, Crossfit, weightlifting, group fitness, personal training or other weight loss exercises, foam rollers fit. Muscle and Fitness Magazine states that foam rollers are some of “the most effective tools at your disposal for physique-building, recovery and injury prevention.”  This is because, according to Muscle & Fitness, “Rollers are the most popular mechanism for self-myofascial release, or SMR, and are gaining popularity among elite athletes of all walks because of the drastic and usually immediate impact it has on their performance and overall health.”

So how do you incorporate a roller into your workout routine at the gym? According to Women’s Health Magazine, “There are tons of ways you can use a foam roller effectively.”  Their expert, Josh Feldman, a certified personal trainer and fitness manager in New York City says, “the top three areas most people have to foam roll are your IT bands (basically, anywhere on the outside of your leg from your knee up), your glutes, and your quads,” and that “[using rollers] loosens up all of your muscles so the other exercises you do are more effective as a result.”

Men’s Health Magazine agrees that pre-workout rolling can help loosen muscles, but for some athletes (specifically those who need to get more “pumped up” rather than relaxed before, say, a lifting session), they recommend rolling after a hard workout because “foam roll[ing[ immediately after your workout [will] help your body begin its recovery process.” 

What if you have to hop in the gym shower immediately after a workout?  Try saving your rolling for a pre-bedtime ritual. According to fitness expert  Kelly Starrett,  P.T., author of Becoming a Supple Leopard and founder of the popular site MobilityWOD.com, “This is the perfect time to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system because you’ll help your muscles recover, reduce tightness that built up throughout the day, and help your body and mind fall asleep faster.” So whether you go to the gym for weight loss, cardio-training, weight lifting or jus for overall fitness, using a foam roller is a great addition to your workout routine.