In this episode, I discuss the benefits of foam rolling for hikers, as well as how a hiker can use different tools for rolling, to find the right intensity for themselves.
Self Massage And Myofascial Release For Hiking
Hello, guys. Today we're talking all about how hiker can use foam rolling to best benefit for their training their recovery and also their hiking. And specifically, we're going to go into detail around how you can adapt your types of foam rolling and self-myofascial release in the situation where you might try to do a particular exercise and it's way, way, way too uncomfortable and just simply cannot get through it.
Or on the other end of things, if you try to do a particular phone rolling exercise, and you just don't feel anything at all. And you know what you can do to step that up a bit and be a bit more in line with your particular level. Now, before we get into that, I just want to cover over a little bit around what the benefits of foam rolling our own self my fashion reliefs and what's we're trying to do with this? Because many, many people are pretty happy foam rolling away on so many different muscles and they'll get one of those big rollers or a ball or something like that. They'll spend 10 2030 minutes rolling away on certain muscles. It'll feel good. It'll feel great They'll walk up feeling like walk around feeling a million bucks.
But not many people know what the actual deal is and what benefits you're really looking at with this type of thing on. People know it's good, but people don't really understand what you're getting out of it. So when it comes to phone rolling and other self, myofascial release, there's really four main benefits that hikers might get out of this type off exercise now number one. It helps with short term improvements in range of motion, meaning it can improve your flexibility or your mobility. Or however you want to define that in the short term. So if you, you know, have particularly tight hips and you've got a ball or get a foam roller and you spend a couple of minutes rolling over those hips, you'd stand up and you'll be able to move those hips quite a bit more freely.
After doing that, however, the really important point here is it is only in the short term that is gonna improve this, and it doesn't make a long term change by itself. Now this is a really important point to make because so many people out there myself previously and when I was a little bit younger. No, they have tight muscles. And no, they have particular areas which need a little bit of mobilizing a little bit extra flexibility. But they use the foam roller exclusively and they just roll and roll and roll which will make them feel good. It'll improve the range of motion at the moment, but over time nothing changes So they invest all this time and going again and again and again and again and just Groundhog Day. And it's absolutely mental now, specifically for May. Back in the day, back in my old meathead days when I used to really, really love lifting weights.
Now I've got a couple of years I've gotten into my own, you know, early twenties, I was starting to tighten up because I didn't really like huge amount of stretching anything like that. So muscles were getting tight and it got to the point where with my workouts, as I was lifting weights, I knew if I was going to do particular exercises I needed to mobilize myself or I'd be in a lot of pain. So then I got into this habit and I'd spent 30 minutes on the phone roll up before every single workout making sure on my joints are moving freely and making sure my arm, you know, muscles are moving freely and making sure I could get through the pain. All right And this worked and I got through the sessions absolutely fine, and I did that for a couple of years.
But the scary thing was nothing changed over long term. I had to spend that half a now,, every single session on the roller to get through my sessions. Now, as I grew up and got a bit more educated and learn a little bit more about this particular subject, I began to substitute some of my phone rolling for particular mobility and exercises and stretches. And over time my mobility improves from day to day. So now I can roll into the gym and do a warm-up for like, five or six or seven minutes as opposed toe, having to spend 30 minutes on the phone roll off. So it is really important to be aware. Phone rolling and Self Mile fashion release can improve your mobility, but only in the short term And if you are using it to improve your mobility, improve your flexibility. Please make sure you combining it with other stretching and other flexibility exercises But enough on that point.
Benefit number one Short term improvements in range of motion benefit number two is phone rolling can help promote, relaxation and recovery. So if you've been training quite hard sometimes the body is really pumped up, and it just needs to be reminded just to calm it down, calm itself down a little bit, to relax, to recover and really really accelerate that, you know, recovery process So this might be you've done a big training week. This might be just had a big hike, maybe had a really big intense session. Maybe even you just had a stressful week. And doing a little bit of phone rolling in my fashion release can really, really just calm the body down, bring into that recovery stage and could be really really effective there. So where they use it at the end of a stressful day at the end of the session, or just on your recovery days, it can be very, very effective Benefit number three is phone rolling can be good for pain desensitization, which is a fancy way of saying it can help with a little bit of pain relief.
So I'm sure if you've ever dealt with sort of plantar fasciitis in the past or some type of foot pain in the past and you've done a little bit of rolling on the bottoms of your feet with a boat, and you know you do it for a little while, you stand up you're like, Oh, that feels really good., you know, pain's gone or released a little bit and you feel fantastic. But then after a while it comes back. So then you roll again, roll again, roll again and so forth, and it can be really really good in this situation. Just for purely what's called pain desensitization so lowers the bodies person exception of pain. So it's not fixing your issues so much if you do have an injury or you do have something going on, but it can lower your perception of pain and make you feel a lot more comfortable so it can be relatively effective for that.
And it can be great in a pain reduction journey as part of a comprehensive plan. And then on that note, it can also help reduce muscle soreness. So if you've got tight carbs or sort carbs or sore legs after a big session or big hike you get a bit of phone rolling. It can really help you feel a little bit better now. Whether or not that improves your performance or not or improve your recovery for performance, it definitely can help you feel a lot more comfortable on that is half the battle. So now that we know phone rolling is, you know it can be a good addition into certain parts of your training program. I want to come to this sort of thing that I want to explore today in this situation, that sometimes people will do rolling for the first time, and it will just really, really, really hurt.
And it'll be so uncomfortable They just physically can't do it now. An example of this is one of my online clients, Andrea, and she's Bean Going through this training journey, she's been doing huge amount of training, trying to relieve a little bit of May pain and get ourselves fit for the trail. And recently it's come up that you know, her quads. We realized we're quite tight and they have been doing a lot of work, and she hadn't been doing a huge amount of recovery on one of the things she flagged up. After a while, she was like, Look, you know, you've got this phone rolling on my quadriceps in the program, but I just physically can't do it, and it's just so uncomfortable and so excruciatingly painful just I can't do it on which that's obviously an issue.
And we don't wanna be at that stage where you're super, super, super uncomfortable phone rolling is always gonna be slightly uncomfortable, but we don't need to get that excruciating pain. If it's like that you need to older things a little bit. So what I want to do now is just go through a few different variations that you can do with these types of exercises. So whether you're rolling, you know your quadriceps or your carbs or your hamstrings, whatever it may be, give you a few examples of how you could make a little bit easier for yourself alternately if you do it and you don't feel a thing, how you could make a little bit more difficult for yourself. So I'm gonna use the quadricep row as an example of running example for this because most hikers will probably familiar with this where you've got your quadriceps big muscle, the front of the in front of the legs and they've hopped on a foam roller before and done a little bit of rolling on it And obviously this is super relevant for hikers because quads, take a lot of work and do a lot of work when you're training in your hiking.
So we wanna make sure that they have, you know, sitting pretty happy Now if you're in the situation where you hop on the phone roller and you try to roll your right quadricep and it's super super uncomfortable here, a few things you can try now. The first option is if you're doing rolling on one limited time. So whether you're one quite receptive, one half of one hamstring, whatever it may be, the next step to reduce this to make a little bit more comfortable is to simply due to legs at a time. So instead of all your body weight focused on one leg, it's dispersed a little bit more really simple. Most people are pretty familiar with that. The next step is if you're doing your two legs at a time and it's still super, super, super uncomfortable What you want to do is trying to find something that's a little bit softer, so foam rollers, even the soft foam rollers tend to be pretty dense, so you want to find something that gives a little bit.
Has a little bit more given it's a little bit nicer on your legs So really great option here is getting a tennis ball now. Obviously, a tennis ball isn't too dense. It isn't too hard. It does have a bit of firmness to it, but it does also have a bit of give, so you can put a tennis ball on the floor, roll around on your quads and hopefully that will be a little bit more comfortable alternately, if it's super, super, super tight, you can even go into like a kid's toy store and get like a handball or something that's a little bit softer again and do that or anything else that's relatively soft. Still gonna do the same job if you still feel like it's getting into those muscles and get into those hotspots. But you just basically changing the density of the actual thing you're using just to make a little more comfortable now, the next option on that is even if you if you whether they're using the ball or soft thing, is a bit of a hassle, or whether it still is uncomfortable what you could do instead of being on the floor and rolling up and down your quads is trying to get like a rolling pin or a trekking poll and sitting in a chair and literally rolling up and down on your quadriceps like that or any other muscle it may be Now, the beauty of this situation is you can control the pressure that you put into your muscles so it's not your body weight purely pushing down.
But you can just push your arms and push the pin or push the trekking pole into certain bits of your muscle, and you can really, really control the intensity of that. So someone even with the most sensitive, outrageously uncomfortable quadriceps, they could give the softest, lightest touch with a rolling pin and just casually go across. And as it gets a bit more comfortable, they can put a bit more pressure, a little bit more pressure, a little bit more pressure and eventually you'll get to the stage where you can't really feel anything without rolling pin, and then you move up the chain to using the softball or using the phone role on the two legs So if you are struggling with a particular release in a particular part of the body. You could go through those options and anywhere, more or less, and you will find something that works for you now on the other side of things.
If you are in the situation where you're rolling up and down in your quads or any other part of your body and you're like, I don't feel anything and you're on your phone roller the next steps What you wanna look at is number one finding a heart of foam roller. So you know there's a lots and lots of different densities and hardness and firmness for these things that can go online by something that's a little bit firmer. The next step on that is, if you get to the point where all the rollers, they're just not doing much, you get a bit of PVC piping, which you know is just very, very firm, solid circular piping. And you can do rolling with that. That's a big step up, but that could definitely give you a little bit extra, and you could go down the route of getting a hardball So whether you get a little cross ball or baseball or one of those cork massage balls, which I absolutely love.
That's quite dense. That's quite targeted. You can really, really get into things the next step onto that is, if you're using that bowling. Still, don't feel anything. You go out and buy like a trigger point release,, gadget, which you can go online and type in trigger Point release tools. And they'll be things that are quite pointy and quite targeted. And you can use that on another Really great option is getting like a bar bell and just simply using that to roll around because that's got a huge amount of weight. It's very, very dense. It's very, very targeted on One of my favorite quad releases is just sitting on the ball. I'm sitting on the floor getting a bar bell just running the ends of the bar bell up and down your legs. Now that's obviously gonna be super super, targeting very, very difficult for many people.
But that's a nice progression for you there, so hopefully you can see if you are thinking about phone rolling. If you tried it in the past and hasn't really worked for you whether it's too difficult or too easy, There's a whole range of different options you can do here, and I've really only scraped the surface when it comes to it today. But you should just be able to be flexible and just try and try a few different things to see what works for you. Because, as we said at the start of the podcast, foam rolling and self, my official release it does have some really great particular benefits for hikers, and it can be very, very effective in a number of different situations in your training program and also to help your hiking. But you just need to do it right.
So you need to find something that works for you. So hopefully it's giving you a little bit of insight. How the best make make the use of this type of training? very, very effective And it does take a little bit tinkering, but I highly, highly, highly recommend you get around, get around it. I should say now if you did want a little extra help with this and you were wanting some ideas around particular phone rolling exercises for particular parts of your body or whether you want a bit more explanation around one of the options I mentioned or when you want to dive into any other subject that we talk about on this podcast I highly recommend you come and join up the training for hiking and tracking Facebook Group. Now inside the group, I can share videos around exercises I can give,, deeper. Do toils around certain things on arm or than open to answering any question you may have around physical preparation for your hiking.
So if you're not a part of that already, please come Enjoy Joined the training for hiking and tracking Facebook Group., leave a link for it in the show notes below But thank you very much for listening today, guys. I hope you got a bit of insight from all of this on. We'll talk to you very, very soon. Bye.
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training for hiking, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training for hiking service created specifically to help hikers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure.