When NOT to Foam Roll

To roll, or not to roll? That is the question...
(and here's the answer)

Sorry, did we catch you with that clickbait? The real answer is: there’s really no bad time to foam roll. In fact, the more you foam roll, the more limber, strong, and relaxed you’re likely to be — both physically and mentally. But, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Here are a few times when you might want to save the foam rolling for later, or swap your roller for a different recovery tool.

If you have intense localized pain

Foam rolling can be an amazing way to heal injuries, but it’s always best to check with a pro and do some research if you have areas of intense localized pain. If you have a recent injury, avoid rolling that area until it’s started to heal unless your doctor or PT tells you otherwise — rolling over a newly-injured area can aggravate damaged muscle tissue. You can, however, roll the surrounding area to support balanced musculature. This can be especially helpful if you’re worried about overcompensating with one muscle group while another heals.

Just before working out

Take this one with a grain of salt, because a quick stretch and roll before exercise can certainly be helpful. However, spending too long rolling out your muscles immediately before working out can sometimes do more harm than good. This is because muscles that are too relaxed are less prepared for heavy exertion, and are more prone to injury.

If you’re a tried-and-true, pre-workout roller, then there’s no need to switch up your routine. But if you’re new to foam rolling, it’s best to start with a routine that incorporates foam rolling either immediatelyafter you work out, or sometime during the day that doesn’t coincide with your gym set.

If you don't know why you're rolling

We’ll admit it — there are lots of good-for-you things we do without really thinking about why we do them. But with that said, foam rolling is one of those good-for-you things that youshould approach with a little extra TLC. That’s because you’ll reap the greatest rewards from your practice if you’ve done a little research on what your body needs, and ensured that foam rolling is the best match for the particular goal you’re targeting.

 

As far as we’re concerned, there’s a time to foam roll in everyone’s wellness routine, but sometimes, your immediate goals are better served by stretching (pro tip: that’s what our mobility straps are for). In any case, a great way to boost your recovery is be as mindful as possible throughout your routine: breathe deeply, visualize your sore spots dissolving, and try incorporating meditative techniques like counting down to keep your parasympathetic nervous system activated.