We’ve all met – or we are – swimmers who swear by foam rolling for recovery. But what does it actually do, and does it actually work?
That uncomfortable feeling you get in your muscles about 12 hours or so after a super tough swim set is called Dealyed Onset Muscle Soreness – and it happens to everyone! Your muscles may feel tender to touch and weaker than normal, but it goes away after a while. Foam rolling for even just 10 mins has been shown to reduce the amout of delayed sorness you get by increasing bloodflow to the muscles so they get more nutrients and lactic acid can get moved out faster.
Increasing bloodflow and decreasing muscle tension can significantly increase the ability of a muscle to stretch and contract. Looser mucscles help to give us more mobility at our joints. When you have more range of motion you have more reaching ability in all strokes – to really get that catch!
So where sould you be foam rolling?
Lats: or if you want to get fancy – the latissimus dorsi is considered to be the powerhouse of swim strokes. It is a big muscle that basically connects your spine to your armpit and helps to pull you through the water during your catch.
Triceps: helps to straighten your arm back out when you are at the end of your catch phase for all strokes. These little suckers do a whole lot of work for you!
Thoracic/Lumbar spine: the muscles attached to and surrounding your spine do heaps of work to keep your body aligned while swimming. Its important to keep these muscles loose and happy!
Hip flexors and Quads: Are super important for kicking, starting off the blocks and pushing off of the wall after a turn. You might not feel like your hips do that much, but oh boy, they do!
Hamstrings: All three hamstring muscles – Yeah! Three! – work super hard while you kick, no matter what stroke. Keeping these flexiable and pain free will keep you kicking hard!
So, its pretty helpul for your recovery to add in some time on the foam roller – maybe even infront of the TV or maybe while shopping for your new Amanzi suit!