During a recent interview with Pauline Nordin I got her thoughts on stretching and foam rolling. As for myself I do some stretching after training, and although I am no expert at foam rolling; I do it on my off days from the gym. I truly believe it has its place and can be used as a helpful tool.
I decided to do this poll to see what everyone else thinks. I asked a group in the fitness community of top-level athletes, bodybuilders and powerlifters.
Here is what they had to say:
- I foam roll, mostly my back and legs; it keeps me flexible and helps with DOMS.
- I tried out foam rolling as a part of my warm up for a few weeks. I didn’t find it was beneficial to me at all on my training days. But on rest days in the morning it is.
- I foam roll and find it helps relieve any tension or muscle soreness I have. I also massage my feet with a slither; it’s similar to a lacrosse ball. Probably part placebo, but it really makes the difference the day after I train.
- I currently foam roll and do dynamic warm ups before lifting. I’m not entirely convinced it does anything. I’m thinking about switching to just doing a lot more warm up sets. Recently I read that the Bulgarians would sometimes take 10-20 sets of 60kg during their squat warm ups, basically until they were hitting great positions.
I am torn though. I don’t think I can improve my technique without doing a shit ton of mobility work. Once I can actually get into proper positions, then I can use the lifts themselves to keep my mobility in check. However if I’m going to do mobility work, I might as well foam roll.
The other thing maybe convincing to me to keep foam rolling is that squatting, deadlifting and benching 3x a week really does create a lot of scar tissue.
- I need to, but my work ethic on this sucks!
- I do it as needed. I go through periods where I roll and stretch up to 30 minutes per day. Recently, I have done next to nothing. Dave Tate said this on the matter, and I am paraphrasing here, but he said; that if you’re doing it when you don’t really need to, what are you going to do when you’re really ‘effed’ up? I think that sums it up nicely!
- I do some stretching or rather flexibility work for the calves and shoulders. I only foam roll when I feel unusually sore.
- Foam rolling seems rather annoying for the most part. What I mean is I have the dense big black roller and it’s really hard to work in the legs or anything other than the back.
- For the back it is amazing. For a few minutes every day I go on it and roll up and down a couple of times. I extend my back in three places while breathing deeply. I use this more as more of an aid to increase my deep breathing while going into extension; it really helps. I don’t sleep on my back and am usually on my side, so I usually hear a pop or two, but that’s good because everything is going back into place.
I feel most people sit too long and incorrectly, so this seems like something for nearly every population. I think a few mobility drills are a must, at least for the lower body on training days. Upper body not so much, but everything should be individualized. I think everyone should roll their back and breathe deeply while extending daily.
- I foam roll daily using a rumble roller.
The Treadmill Factory – Rumble Roller
I also stretch my lower back daily with some stretches that my chiropractor showed me. I also do squat stretches daily and I do a lot of hanging from my pull up bar using my Versa Gripps. I simply can’t function under the bar unless I stretch beforehand. I usually try to warm up on the bike for a few minutes, so that I am not stretching stone cold.
- I don’t do a damn thing for mobility, or do any foam rolling. I had a roller I used occasionally, but we lost it in our last move. For warm ups I just swing my legs around for a few minutes on squat/deadlift days then get to it, always starting with the bar. For upper body, I just do some shoulder circles and then get on with it.
I don’t have a problem with rolling and mobility work, and as I get older and start to have issues I’ll certainly make use of both. But I find that when I squat a lot I never really get tight.
There is one thing to consider though. I did P90X a few years back, and through the course of the program I developed freaky flexibility. I mean I could, with no warm up, tough my palms to the floor with completely locked knees. Ever since then, even with basically no stretching, I’ve managed to maintain most of this flexibility. Once I’m warm I can still tough the ground with no problems. So I guess I have more natural flexibility than the average guy.
Just another example of how we’re all different.
- I’ve entertained the idea of stretching per say and foam rolling. I guess if I ever need it, the option is there. But I think I am pretty flexible, more so than most people. I do 30 minutes of stretching after every workout and I foam roll when I am particularly sore. I should do more though.
It is no surprise that so many trainees choose to do some form of mobility work as there are many benefits. Whether you stretch, foam roll or both it is ultimately up to you and your individual preference.
Having the motivation and making the time to incorporate it into your training routine is another factor that should be considered. Ultimately it’s up to you what is best for you and your body. But from what I can see there are far too many benefits not to give it a try.
Try it for a couple of weeks and let us know how it goes for you. We look forward to hearing from you. Leave a comment in the section below.