(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“Beneficial for movement by increasing flexibility, range of motion, and some performance; helps reduce pain from higher intensity workouts; and speeds recovery,…”
OK, I’m game, but what can do all that?
Foam rolling can increase performance in sports, reduce fatigue before a workout and decrease soreness after a workout. I can attest to that personally, and author Kyle Stull’s Complete Guide to Foam Rolling shows us how it is accomplished.
Stull holds a doctorate in health sciences, a master’s degree in rehabilitation, and a bachelor’s degree in sport management. He is a licensed massage therapist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, holds NASM-CPT and NASM-CES certifications, and has more than fourteen years of experience in personal training, corrective exercise, and manual therapy.
Part I states the benefits of rolling, types of rollers, sticks and massage balls; when you use a massage ball versus a foam roller. Part II shows the basic anatomy of joints and muscles and their function as well as how to roll each body part. Stull maintains that “…An ideal foam rolling program should be based on how you move and not on how you feel.” Hmm, I never thought about that before.
Stull is frank about how foam rolling isn’t the “cure all” for injuries and alignment problems. You need to address the root cause. Some muscles need foam rolling and stretching while others need strengthening. He stresses safety when it comes to foam rolling and which areas should not be rolled.
Later on in the book he explains how to perform a body assessment so you can address the cause of an ache or injury, like back pain. He goes into detail on how to analyze your squat form as a lot can be determined by it.
That said, I believe that an assessment should be performed by an experienced trainer. I have worked out for years and still have problems analyzing my form objectively.
While helpful illustrations are included, I think that people should take a class or one-on-one personal instruction on how to foam roll. However, this book will serve as a wonderful supplement to that.
I did learn a lot from the book though and since I want to continue my active lifestyle, I will keep Complete Guide to Foam Rolling in my library as a constant and important reference.