Foam rolling was once for professional athletes only. These days it’s hard to walk into a gym without tripping over somebody rolling around on a neoprene tube.
Dedicated classes in hip New York gyms are frequented by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Shakira. Forget protein shakers, resistance bands or Fitbits: foam rollers are this season’s must-have gym accessory.
The rise of foam rollers owes much to the Israeli engineer and physicist Moshe Feldenkrais, whose pioneering work on body movements to improve muscle function became popular in the 1950s.
A black belt in judo, Feldenkrais incorporated them into his system for physical improvement when he came across them in the US a couple of decades later.
More recently, the American sports therapist Michael Clark helped introduce these accessories to the general population with his 2001 book, Integrated Training for the New Millennium. The first US patent for a foam roller was filed as recently as 2004.
Most people understand that stretching before exercise is important; it loosens you up and improves your flexibility. But too much stretching – meaning upwards of 60 seconds – will weaken your muscles and could hamper your workout.
One of foam rolling’s big selling points is that it can improve flexibility to a similar extent as stretching, but with an important added bonus – it doesn’t impair strength. Foam rolling can also improve performance if combined with stretching.
Read more from The Independent's article HERE
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