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Stretching vs. Foam Rolling

If you want your body to feel good, you have to take care of it! Keep reading to learn the differences between stretching vs foam rolling!

Stretching and foam rolling benefit the body in completely different ways. Stretching helps to lengthen a muscle. Foam rolling is done to break apart knots formed in a muscle due to stress and overuse.

Taking 15-minutes out of your day to stretch and roll out tight muscles can save you from preventable pain and injury.

Let’s break down the two techniques to get a better understanding of how each can help you.

Stretching

Stretching helps to improve a muscles range of motion, or how flexible and mobile a body part is. There are several different ways to stretch, but today I am going to focus on static stretching.

Static stretching requires you to hold a particular stretch for at least 30 seconds. Holding the position for a minimum of 30 seconds triggers sensors in your body to relax the muscle you are stretching. This process is important because if the muscle cannot relax, it cannot stretch.

Although these stretches are static, they should feel quite active. You should constantly be pushing and pulling deeper into the stretch as you “hold” the position. Avoid bouncing in the pose or lazily holding a stretch.

Stretching will not only make you more flexible, but it will allow you to build muscle more easily. For example, if your quads are tight, it is going to be very hard for you to build muscle in any other part of your legs. Your quads will take over during practically every lower body exercise. This makes it nearly impossible to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. Stretching your quads daily will loosen up the muscle and give the rest of your leg a chance to participate.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling focuses more on the nervous system and tissues rather than the length of the muscle itself. Rolling out a muscle breaks apart the knots in the muscle tissue. Foaming rolling isn’t the only self-myofascial technique. You can also use a tennis or lacrosse ball to break apart knots as well, or practice self-massage.

Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck and didn’t know why? Chances are, there are knots in your upper back created by stress and posture. These knots are affecting your mobility in other parts of the body, like your neck. Using a foam roller or massage stick to break apart these knots will help relieve pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders.

Incorporating these corrective techniques into your daily routine can be tedious and time-consuming. But, wouldn’t you rather spend 15-minutes today than be in pain for years? I would!

I hope you found this helpful and understand the differences between stretching vs foam rolling now!

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