When it comes to exercising at home, self care comes top of the list. Most exercisers train for aesthetically pleasing reasons. They want to look good. There is nothing wrong with that, for everyone has their personal goal. However, as a fitness professional I am an advocate of treating your body like the temple it is.
We are constantly pounding our bodies, whether it be at work on a daily basis, or whilst training. Most of the time we are not looking after ourselves in the way that we should. Training at home should make it easier to take care of our bodies.
When you ask the majority of people if they look after their bodies, the common consensus is that they do. However, most peoples’ definition of looking after themselves is eating moderately well and exercising a couple times per week. You are probably thinking “but that is looking after yourself”. I would partially agree with you. However, can you do more?
OK, so you exercise regularly…do you warm up properly? You eat well…do you drink enough water? These are just a couple of examples how “looking after yourself” can be considered relative. However, this can be improved with the slightest of changes. Another important change you need to consider is massaging at home, using rollers. This will make a difference in the results you obtain, as fitness and massage compliment each other like bread and butter.
The Benefits of Massage
When you put your body through trauma, one of the best ways to help it recover is massage. Not only does massage help your body repair but it also has immune boosting advantages that help you become even fitter. The Following are just a few benefits of massage:
- An improvement in blood circulation
- Reduced muscle tension
- Less stress hormones produced
- Increased flexibility
- Soft tissue injuries heal faster
- Skin tone improves
- Improves immune system
- Flushes toxins
- Helps relaxation
As you can see, the benefits of massage are undeniable. This is why those that exercise have more of a duty to ensure their bodies get massaged.
Going to a massage clinic can be very costly. It is regarded as a treat. Research shows that this is one of the main reasons that people do not have regular massages. This is totally understandable, as it is seen as a luxury, something you do when you are on holiday or a weekend Spa break. Well, you don’t have to worry further because the day of the foam roller has arrived.
Different Types of Massage Equipment and How They Rate
This is where foam rollers and massage balls come in. These little pieces of heaven are the products of simple ingenuity but great innovation. There are quite a few different massage innovations on the market today but they all do serve a specific purpose. The different types are as follows:
The Basic Foam Roller
If you have never rolled before and are new to this experience, the basic foam roller is the best way for you to begin. It will give you a basic introduction into the world of foam rolling, as it is very simple to use and will not shock your body with a deep tissue massage. However, if this is your first time, be prepared to feel sore the next day.
My Rating: This roller was the first one I ever used, absolutely quality piece of equipment. Used every day and I fell the difference every time I use it. A must have!
The Deep Tissue Roller
If used correctly, these rollers can effectively simulate the great deep tissue massage. If you have never had one of these, it is probably the closest you would get to being jabbed repetitively by Mike Tyson! OK, OK, that may be a slight exaggerating little, but let me tell you, it hurts!
Although it hurts, the benefits that you receive from this type of massage are definitely worth the pain. The deep tissue roller can help with myofascial release. This can help to release tension and eliminate muscular pain, whilst improving range of motion. This is definitely one for those with a high pain threshold.
My Rating: Definitely one to have handy. If you are training vigorously, a deep massage is something that can help with those tight muscles. Sometimes a basic foam roller isn’t enough.
The Muscle Foam Roller
If you find you are suffering with chronic pain in any part of your body, then this type of roller can really help with your issues. It is specifically designed to help with reducing inflammation. It is very important to ensure correct usage of the roller, as misuse can lead to further aggravating the problem.
My Rating: A good piece of equipment, but if you have a basic foam roller and a deep tissue roller, then there is no need to have this one.
The Textured Foam Roller
This roller is a more intense version of the deep tissue roller. If you are a fan of deep tissue massages, then you will more than likely love this roller. What makes it different is the extra bumps it has. These bumps cover more area, which in turn gives a more intense massage.
As with the deep tissue massage roller, this roller can be very painful to use, especially if you haven’t experienced a deep tissue massage. So just take your time and get used to it before pushing yourself.
My Rating: Not a necessity if you have the deep tissue roller, however the extra ridges and bumps it has can make a difference to the massage quality.
The Trigger Point Handheld Roller
These rollers are such a simple design, but they are so effective in their use. Depending on your current state of health and your flexibility, using the full size rollers can sometimes provide a challenge. For example, if you have tight quadriceps (the front thigh muscles), the position you have to get into for a deep roll, can be a problem. This is where the hand roller comes in.
With this roller you can sit or stand upright, and just roll away using your hands to hold the roller. It is such a convenient piece of equipment. You can use it to roll out your entire lower body, and parts of your upper body too.
It is especially great to roll out the fibres in your ilio tibial (IT) band. This is a thick band of fibres that begin at the pelvis and run on the outside part of the thigh, until it attaches to the shin bone. A tight IT band can cause a lot of problems. Many people fail to realise that this is the reason they have tight hips and a bad back. It is a commonly neglected part of the body and the handheld roller goes a long way to helping to relieve the tension from these tight tendinous fibres.
My Rating: This must be included in your massage kit. Just the convenience alone makes it invaluable! The handheld roller can be used anywhere, literally. You could be on the sofa watching the TV, rolling away. Fantastic bit of kit.
The LaCrosse Massage Ball
These massage balls are great for those little niggly aches in hard to reach places. A great use for the LaCrosse massage ball is the pec minor muscle. This is a deep muscle that helps with shoulder stability. If this becomes tight or aggravated, your shoulders are pulled forward. Over time this will round your shoulders, which will cause havoc with your posture.
This is just one example of the many uses this type of massage ball has. It can be used for any part of the body, but it is mainly used for specific muscles. It is also useful for hand and grip strength.
My Rating: This helped me no end, with my shoulder rehabilitation. Stretching out my pec minor has given me that extra shoulder stability that evaded me for so many years. The LaCrosse massage ball is such a useful piece of kit, as it conveniently fits into your pocket. Take this everywhere you go for that on the spot relief.
High Density Spike Massage Ball
This massage ball is for those hard to reach trigger points. It is specifically used to prevent or treat plantar fascitis. This is the inflammation of the ligament that connects the heal bone to the toes. This ligament is known as the plantar fascia. All you have to do is place it under your foot and roll your foot back and forth. The pounding that your feet get whilst running on the treadmill is intense, so pamper your feet, as they deserve it.
My Rating: One thing many of us tend to do is to neglect our feet. This massage ball gives something back to the part of our body that we use the most. The comfort that this gives my feet, is unparalleled. Be kind to your feet with the spike massage ball.
But I’ve Never Used One Before
Most people are frightened by the thought of using a massage roller. I can understand the reluctance, if you have never come across these tools previously. So what should you do?. Just because it frightens you, should you disregard it? Do so at your peril!.
The truth is that this massage equipment should not be used if you are unsure of how to use it. As with any piece of equipment, you can do more harm than good if you are performing these exercises with the incorrect technique. However, by no means should this put you off.
There are plenty of qualified professionals that can show you how it’s done. I wouldn’t normally recommend You Tube when it comes to learning an exercise technique, however there are plenty of good quality tutorials that show the correct techniques when it comes to rolling.
Easy to Use and Easy to Store
Massage rollers are so easy to use and you can massage almost anybody part. Once you have used them, you will notice the difference within a matter of days. Before you know it, you will be thinking “what was I afraid of?”. They won’t take up much space in your home gym but they will make a noticeable difference to your fitness.
I use massage aids on a regular basis. They are used pre -workout to get heat into muscles and then they are used on rest days, just to ensure my muscles stay loose. You don’t have to use them as much but due to my past injuries, I use them just to ensure my muscle, joints and tendons feel loved. I have put my body through a lot!
You Need These in Your Home Gym
Rollers are now an integral part of my home workout routine. I don’t know what I would do without them. They have aided me in coming back from some serious injuries, so without them, I would probably be in a lot worse shape. I am currently rehabbing from a back injury and the massage tools that I have at home, are playing an integral part in helping my come back.
If you haven’t got these tools in your repertoire, then my advice would be to add them as soon as possible. You will notice the difference within days. The great thing is they do not cost that much, and what you pay for them, you get back with all the good they do for your body.
As I always say, we need to look after our bodies, as they look after us. By eating the right foods, supplementing well and exercising regularly, we can go a long way to ensuring life longevity. Adding something as simple as massaging at home with rollers will add years onto that longevity. So, go and show your body how much you care and remember fitness and massage are a match made in heaven.
Thank you for reading this article. If you have any comments and/or feedback, please leave them in the box below. As always, it has been an absolute pleasure having you here.