|Image from: http://www.bodywindow.com/foam-rolling.html|
Foam Rolling: One of the best things you can do for your poor muscles. Its basically a massage for your whole body, without going for a massage. You get the benefits of stretching along with myofascial release, releasing tension, reducing injury, increasing blood flow, and you can hit some major trigger points. It hurts- but in a good way.
You can hit most of the major muscles and points in your body with a foam roller. If you got to a gym, you've probably seen people rolling around on these and wondering "what the heck is that person doing??" I refuse to use the ones at the gym... I am kinda grossed out by the idea, but thats just me. I realize its silly, given the fact that I touch everything else in the gym from weights to mats, so whats the difference? None, but anyway... I purchased my own about a year ago and foam roll at home. You can do whatever you like.
How do you use it? The simplest way to explain: You roll around on it. But its a little bit more particular than that. You should roll 30-60 seconds each muscle. Some spots require less rolling and more sitting on pressure points. Explaining this is a little difficult. Once you start rolling you will get the idea. But here is a good beginner video to get you started:
I find the points that I get the most benefit from foam rolling are my IT band, chest and back stretches, and my quads. I find it is less effective on my hamstrings. Use a tennis ball for those!!! (yep!)
Want to learn more? Here are some other good resources to get you started!