Preventive maintenance is as important for bodies as it is for cars, and just as sometimes it’s best to get a mechanic to look under the hood, it can help to see a pro to maintain your running machine. Personal trainer Laura Tacquard, a certified myofascial foam rolling teacher, is an advocate of rolling out the knots and kinks of a tough workout.
“You can use a foam roller either before or after a workout,” Tacquard explained. “Before a workout, it improves mobility and range of motion. We also use it for recovery. After some hard sets of squats and dumbbell work, you tend to get sore, and rolling helps with that.”
Tacquard’s foam rolling class, held at Galveston’s Fitness on the Go, use a variety of rollers. “For someone starting out, I’d recommend a smooth cylinder,” Tacquard suggested. “I’ve worked up to using a firmer, knobby one, but not everyone likes that much pressure.”
Most foam rolling techniques use body weight to supply the pressure, with the roller on the floor under the body part being worked on. By lying on top of the roller, either in a plank position of facing upward, and moving back and forth, most muscle groups can be addressed, including hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and shoulders. “Women typically have weaker hamstrings, so we try to roll on the hamstrings and the hips every time,” Tacquard noted.
Foam rolling doesn’t have to be done on the floor. “We have people who don’t want to get down there, and they can put the roller against the wall and roll down in a squat,” Tacquard said. “I like to take my shoes off and use the roller standing up, too.”
Tacquard has been leading the foam roller class for almost a year at Fitness on the Go, and participants have become believers. “It has big-time benefits,” Thomas Scott, a college baseball umpire, said. “My muscles get tight, and rolling makes a huge difference.”
Another class member, Donna Garland, even travels with a foam roller. “It’s like getting a deep tissue massage,” she noted.
More information on the foam rolling class and other Fitness on the Go classes is available at fotggalveston.com.