This article is about why every grappler needs to foam roll. If you’re really dedicated towards becoming better in jiu-jitsu, then you should already know that it’s not just the training that will get you there. You need to incorporate other things as well; such as watching instructionals and analyzing footage, cross-training, taking care of the nutrition and getting enough hours of sleep, rehab and prehab work… There’s a lot to take in and a lot to do – but nothing is too much for when you want to become the best!
Therefore, it’s about time that you start enjoying the benefits of foam rolling as well.
WHAT’S FOAM ROLLING?
That’s a fair question. Well, have you ever seen people in the gym that are using some sort of a cylindrical object by resting themselves on top of it – and then just rocking back and forth? Yup, that’s the so-called foam roller; a genius work of equipment that will make you feel both good and bad.
"Wait, what? Good and bad?“ Yes, because its purpose is to dig deep into your muscles and place pressure on the tight, painful parts and knots – which can hurt quite a bit.
And that’s where the sole purpose of the foam roller is hidden; it’s meant to loosen up these points in your muscular system. Basically, it’s almost the same thing as a massage… Except that foam rolling is way cheaper and you can go for it whenever you want to!
WHY DO I NEED TO FOAM ROLL – AND HOW SHOULD I DO IT?
In simple terms, foam rolling will alleviate the stiffness and pain you feel from training, and it’ll help in injury prevention as well. Therefore, there’s almost no bad time for doing it! You can do it the morning after really hard rolling sessions; or before you go to sleep, to prepare your body for relaxation. It’s a great intro to your warm-up and a great ending to your cooldown as well.
However, there’s a number of ways to foam roll. It all depends on which body part and muscle you want to deal with – and then it’s all about finding the right angle for the right spot.
However, there are three areas which you will, more than likely, find to be very grateful for foam rolling. Let’s take a look at them.
1. THE PSOAS MUSCLE
The main function of the psoas muscle is hip flexion; that is, it bends your hip by lifting up the thigh and the knee in order to make a forward step. However, as you’re in a crouched position most of the time in ground fighting, this muscle gets tight (even worse if you’re a buttscooter). This can lead to all sort of problems, such as lower back and hip pain.
So, it’s a good idea to loosen it up with a foam roller. Here’s a video on how to do it:
2. THE IT BAND
Also, your IT band – the iliotibial band, whose primary function is hip stabilization – is probably tighter than it needs to be as well… And it just might be causing that (ocassional) knee pain you’re experiencing. However, if you start foam rolling it, all that tightness and pain is going to wither away. Here’s how:
3. THE UPPER BACK
Finally, have you been experiencing upper back pain because of jiu-jitsu? You’re not alone; a lot of jiu-jitsu practitioners have this problem and it’s become a common woe for many. However, it can (and will, if left untreated) turn into a serious problem – unless you get foam rolling!
Here are seven ways to foam roll your upper back, so that your next rolling session is full of joy:
In the video below, Mike Bidwell from BJJAfter40 explains how he uses the foam roll: