Postnatal Exercises - What You Need To Know To Perform Them Safely

Having worked with numerous new mums, I know that the postnatal stage is a vitally important time for a new mother’s body to return to its pre baby best. During this period, many changes in your hormones, muscles, and emotions occur. Taking proper care of yourself after birth is therefore essential for a speedy recovery and to feel great about yourself in this new stage of your life.

postnatal exercises
It is important to focus on your emotional and physical wellbeing at this critical time - not just the new arrival's!

During this time, exercise may be one of the last things on your mind. With all the physical and psychological strain pregnancy and birth put on your body, this is no wonder. There is a long-standing myth that postnatal exercises in the first six weeks following the birth are a strict ‘no-no’. However, depending on the precise circumstances of the birth, light postnatal exercises (walking plus gentle pelvic floor exercises) might be ok as early as two weeks after the birth, or you might have to wait six to ten weeks, especially if you have had a C-section. Of course, you should always ask your doctor for advice specific to you at this critical stage.

Once your doctor says moderate exercise is safe for you, try to resist the urge of doing too much too soon. Young mothers often worry about getting their ‘pre-baby body’ back as soon as possible. Unbelievable celebrity ‘shedding the baby weight’ transformations don't exactly encourage you to take it slow, either. However, quick fixes are dangerous during this period. You need to give yourself time to heal and recover and any postnatal exercises you do should be modest, and achievable!

I recommend to new mothers that they should, rather than focussing solely on shedding the pounds, consider the emotional benefits of exercise first: the feel-good hormones released during exercise can be beneficial in preventing depression and anxiety. It is not just about getting your body back, it’s also about looking after your emotional wellbeing and properly performed postnatal exercises are absolutely fantastic for that!

Postnatal exercises - Abdominal exercises

During pregnancy your abdominal muscles stretch and can take a little while to return to normal

The first thing that surprises new mothers is how obvious their baby bump still is, even though there is no longer a baby present! Even though exercising the abdominal muscles will eventually help regain your well defined tummy, don't rush it. You can do yourself a lot of harm if you try to work these muscles too soon - so again, be sure to consult your doctor before the ab crunches.

During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch. Sometimes the muscles separate and they can even tear. While it is unlikely for pregnancy to cause any long-term damage, the abdominal muscles are still weakened and vulnerable in the postnatal period.

If you have abdominal muscle separation

A number of my clients have abdominal muscle separation. If you have separation, I am sure your doctor has assured you that you will be fine and the ‘gap’ will close soon. However, crunches, twists, and other more intensive ab exercises will not be safe in the first month or two. Try this gentle but effective exercise instead:

Place three pillows on an exercise mat and lie on them so that your navel is above the centre of the pillows. Cross your hands over your tummy. Touch your sides with the opposite hands. Inhale, raising your head a few inches above the floor. As you exhale gently, push the ab muscles together with your fingers. Draw your navel inwards toward your spine. Keep your lower back muscles as stable as possible. Inhale and repeat 10 times. Be persistent and try to work your way toward being able to lift your shoulders off the mat, while maintaining the same position.

Pelvic floor exercises

Your pelvic floor muscles are working overtime during pregnancy and childbirth. Regardless of exactly how you gave birth, your pelvic floor muscles will be weaker after the pregnancy. Pelvic floor exercises, therefore, are an essential part of most postnatal exercises regimes. Here are the typical pelvic floor exercises I ask my clients to perform:

Pelvic Floor Exercises do not need to be performed in a gym

Simple pelvic floor muscle squeeze

Start by getting in a comfortable position. It really does not matter if you sit, stand or lie back. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. How do you know that you're squeezing them? Apologies for the graphic description but I tell my clients to imagine trying to stop peeing midstream. Squeeze slowly and hold for as long as you can. Repeat a total of 10 times and then rest for a few seconds. Repeat this set of 10 a total of five times.

At first, you won't be able to hold the ‘squeeze’ for long. This is completely normal. You might not feel the exercises working at the start, but if you practice consistently, in a few weeks you will feel stronger and better supported in this area.

Pelvic floor muscle squeeze modification

A useful modification to the above movement is to fold a towel and sit on it so that it is positioned between your legs. Perform the squeezes as above. Mentally focus on raising your pelvic floor muscles. Still, really try to be mindful of the movement. As the muscles get stronger, it will be easier to do the exercises.

Seated pelvic floor exercise

This exercise will work wonders for your pelvic floor muscles

Sit upright with a 90-degree angle bend in your knees. Your lower back and abdominal muscles should be as relaxed as possible (while still maintaining good upright posture). Put a small ball (such as a tennis ball or stress ball) between your knees. Alternatively, you could clench your fist and put it in the same place. Squeeze together with your knees. Try not to engage your leg muscles, but focus on engaging the pelvic floor muscles instead. A few weeks in and you can try to use a larger ball such as a small medicine ball.

Lying Leg Raises

Lying leg raise for postnatal exercise

Lie down with your lower back flat on the mat. If you are uncomfortable, place a pillow under the small of your back. Slowly raise both legs. Keep them as straight as possible. Do 10 then rest. For the next 10, try to lift your legs up to a 90-degree angle. If you feel pain or other physical discomfort stop, rest and next time don't push yourself so much. On the return motion you need not lower your lets right to the floor, you can stop a short distance from the floor to make the exercise more manageable.

After the four week mark, you could try more demanding core stability exercises using a Swiss ball.

For cardio

Childbirth probably seemed like a marathon, but your heart and lungs will thank you if you keep up light aerobic exercise as a new mother. With all the stress of parenthood, the new schedule you have to follow, and the inevitable sleep deprivation, you may not be feeling your best. Start small, but keep it consistent. Walking is the best cardio during those first few weeks. Take your newborn baby out for a walk every day– it is wonderful for the baby, and great for you too. As a general rule, I don't advocate low intensity cardio, but when it comes to postnatal exercises the doctor’s orders are always to take things slow and some limited cardio with fresh air is much better than sitting on the sofa all day.

Gradually pick up the pace on your mother/baby walking sessions!

This low level cardio is best performed before noon ideally first thing in the morning. Getting some sun in will also help your biological clock as UV light in the morning is known to promote healthy circadian rhythms (and yours will be in slight disarray due to your baby's irregular sleep cycle). At first, you should go slow, but try to walk faster and longer every day. You want to get to the point where you are slightly out of breath during the walk. After the first three to four weeks, if you feel strong enough and your doctor approves, start adding in some light jogs. More intensive forms of cardio should be saved for later, as they can exacerbate other problems in the postnatal period.

I wish you the best of luck with your postnatal exercise programme. If you have any questions, leave them below and I'll respond.

Thanks

David


5 Swiss Ball core stability techniques for busy women

I wanted to do a piece about some effective exercises that can be performed at home with relatively little equipment, time or expense, such as one of my favourites: the Swiss Ball rollout (see below).

Background to why Swiss Balls are a really helpful fall back

The main reason I see people failing to achieve their overall exercise and health goals is not the exercise or the work itself. More often, it is a practical or logistical problem. Life can sometimes rudely interrupt your exercise plans: you need to join an early conference call, you need to look after a sick child, there's a work function you cannot miss, there is simply not enough time (there really isn't enough time- sometimes!) – there are so many valid excuses that act as a barrier to taking exercise and getting proper nutrition. I know that the many stresses of  life in 2017 can sometimes feel overwhelming and exercise inevitably falls by the wayside.

The key is to remove as many logistical and practical barriers to exercise as possible. Make a small amount of progress each day and a year from now you'll be amazed at the progress. Small habits repeated each day result in massive and lasting change.

That is why I am a fan of the trusty Swiss Ball for home workouts, particularly those exercises that give you a great core work out. Yes, lifting weights is excellent for you but it demands travel and much more preparation. If you haven't already, you should absolutely have a Swiss ball and mat at home as a back up to prevent your routine from falling apart if circumstances interfere with your usual workout plan. For homework outs, the Swiss Ball I use with my clients is this one (because it offers total safety for new and expectant mothers) and the mat I recommend is here.

"How many repetitions?"

A question I am often asked by clients is 'how many reps should I do of xyz exercise?', the answer is always the same: "You must focus on fatiguing the muscle enough to make a positive change. Perform the exercise in a controlled manner (no jerky movements or using momentum)" until you feel like you cannot physically perform the exercise any longer. Your body does not know the difference between 10 repetitions or 50 repetitions or the amount of weight you are moving. It only knows the extent to which the muscle is fatigued to create an adaptive response! This applies to all of the challenging movements below. You should be aiming for muscular failure, not a certain amount of reps.

5 Swiss Ball core stability techniques for busy women

Swiss Ball Rollout

The reason I recommend the Swiss Ball Rollout is that whilst this exercise is a very efficient method of strengthening stability in your core it also supports stability in your triceps and shoulders. The Swiss Ball Rollout is particularly effective for new mothers looking to regain abdominal strength, improve the appearance of the abdominal and upper arm area during the post-natal period and to provide support for your back and posture at a time when your body needs it most.

Here's how a Swiss Ball rollout is performed:

  • First, kneel facing the ball ensuring it is far enough away from you so that you can place the palms of your hands on it when your arms are fully extended.
  • Ensuring you keep your knees in the same position and the palms of your hands on the ball, push the ball away from you slowly so that your torso gradually becomes extended.
  • Next, pulling with your stomach muscles, and keeping both of the palms of your hands on the ball, return to  your vertical starting position.
  • During the Swiss Ball rollout mentally focus on squeezing your abdominals tight.

Swiss Ball Plank

This exercise is more difficult to perform correctly than the Swiss Ball rollout but will work the same muscle groups and, in addition, work your glues and hamstrings. This will work wonders for your posture and support your other training goals (including more difficult pursuits like free weight training).

Here's how a Swiss Ball Plank is performed:

Alternative to the Swiss Ball rollout
The Swiss Ball Plank

To perform the exercise, you simply hold the position without moving. The challenge is staying still when the stability ball starts to move underneath you. Because the exercise ball challenges your balance, it is harder to keep your alignment and your abs and shoulders work much harder than during the floor plank; because your knees are off the ground, you also work much harder than during the Swiss Ball Rollout.

  • Start by placing your elbows on the ball.
  • Balance on your toes, while keeping your body in a straight line.
  • This is an isometric exercise, which simply means that you hold the same position without moving.
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Make sure that you keep your body in a straight line.
  • Keep your abs pulled in to stop your back from arching.
 If you feel your back arching too much, have someone (such as a workout partner) support the ball so it doesn't move as much.

Swiss Ball Leg Raise

This again will work your entire core and gives a mini-aerobic workout and muscle 'burn'.

Here's how a Swiss Ball Leg Raise is performed:

  • Place the Swiss Ball between your feet as you lie with your back flat on the ground with your hands by your sides.
  • Squeeze the Swiss Ball with your feet and ankles and slowly raise it a raise it a few inches off the ground.
  • Lift your legs to produce a 90 degree angle with the floor.
  • Lower your legs back down but do not let the Swiss Ball touch the floor.
  • Raise and lower your legs 15 times, or as many times as you can manage.

Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Different from the Swiss Ball rollout and the other exercises mentioned above, this exercise primarily works the hamstrings. The Swiss Ball uses a support to help raise the legs and hips off the floor. This leg exercise also works the glutes and the core very well.

Here's how the Swiss Ball Leg Raise is performed:

  • Lie on your back with your feet resting on top the ball.
  • Place your arms out to the side in a relaxed state.
  • Lift your bottom off the floor by raising your hips.
  • Pull the ball in to your body by driving your hips higher and curling your legs.
  • Slowly return to the start position still with your hips raised.

Swiss Ball Press Up

This is the most challenging exercise on the list and will work your pectoral muscles, triceps and all over core. It's highly effective, if you can do it!

Here's how the Swiss Ball Press Up is performed:

  • Put your toes on top of a Swiss Ball to elevate your body.
  • Lower your body until your upper body is just about to touch the floor.
  • Focussing on using your chest muscles, press into the mat and push your torso back into the starting position squeezing your chest at the top.
  • After a second pause at the contracted position, repeat the movement until you are fatigued

Good luck with these exercises - if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and I will respond.

Remember that diet forms 80% of the work in getting the abdominals that you desire.

Thanks,

David


Female Weight Training Programmes - Don't Make These Four Big Mistakes

It probably does not come as news to exercise-savvy women that weight training is really good for your body and for your overall wellbeing. Hopefully, some women’s fears that training with weights will give a bulky, manly appearance have long been dispelled. There is an excellent scientific literature supporting the benefits of weight training for both men and women. And, no, it does not make women look big and muscular.

Weight lifting, performed correctly, can be of significant benefit to women.

Perhaps you have tried weight training for a short time in the past but it didn’t produce any results or just felt really awkward?

As with all things in the diet and exercise industry, for every sound piece of advice there is a myriad of conflicting (and frankly wrong) advice out there. As a general rule, if you are new to weight training you should always seek professional advice and assistance from a qualified professional, anything less carries significant risks.

Whilst you shouldn't ever feel 'bad pain' when exercising with weights, it is important to really push yourself and 'feel the burn', the good pain in the following days through delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) means you've done a good job!

That said, in my experience, there are some common areas that can typically be improved in female weight training programmes to maximise positive results (and the problems are usually different from the typical issues found in male weight training).

Mindset - fail as much and as often as you can

One of the most common problems when following a weight training programme is the person’s mindset. Whereas men tend to make the mistake of choosing a weight that is far too heavy, leading to injury on the gym floor; some women tend to select weights that are slightly too light. We’ve all seen those puny pink 2kg dumbbells that weigh less than the groceries and I can confirm they don’t do very much for your physique, they just look nice! Think about it: the average 2 year old girl weighs 12kgs and careful mums don't hesitate to lift and carry them! Going to the gym to lift anything less than something you're very comfortable with lifting in everyday life is, well, a waste of time.

If you select a weight that is too light, you may successfully ‘complete’ a set of repetitions but you are not creating a state in the body that delivers real change and therefore could be wasting a lot of time. Follow these tips before and during your session to adapt your mindset for success:

  • If you’re a beginner, understand that there are plenty of people that can help you and that you should feel fully entitled to take your spot in the weights section of your gym.
  • Do not be afraid of using the bigger weights and olympic bar equipment in the gym if you need to. Select a weight that becomes very difficult (and preferably, impossible) to lift after you have been performing the exercise for around one minute to 90 seconds (focus more on ‘time under tension’ rather than how many repetitions you are able to push out).  
  • Remember the aim is to put the muscle under a proper amount of stress to encourage growth and change, not to race through the workout as quickly as you can. Use slow, controlled movements and mentally focus on the muscle group you are working.
  • The aim is not to ‘complete’ the set of repetitions, it is to fail - as odd as that may sound. It is actually very difficult to achieve true failure, so you must keep pushing longer than you think is possible, this will bring about real change. Prepare yourself mentally before the session to ‘go all the way to failure’.
  • Remember, you should be just as puffed out at the end of a set of weight training as you would be after sprinting 100m - it is meant to be hard on your muscles and your cardiovascular system. 

If you want to read more about my thoughts on failure as the only true path to success read this.

Avoid isolation exercises

Squatting is the preferable compound movement for female weight training programmes

If you have received quality formal advice from a good trainer she or he will likely have told you to favour compound movements (including squats/leg press, chest press, shoulder press lateral pull downs and rowing movements) instead of isolation exercises (think arm curls, ab crunches, lateral raises, butt workouts, inner thigh workouts etc.). However, I still see a lot of women following weight training programmes or circuit programmes that favour isolation exercises that work smaller muscle groups.

The best advice is to stay away from isolation exercises unless you are an athlete training for a specific sport or have a very specialised reason for weight training that muscle in isolation (e.g. recovering from an injury). It produces much greater results to work many major muscle groups at once rather than isolating one muscle alone. Search for ‘compound weight training movements’ or ask your trainer to help you with them.

Start with squats for big results! Your heart will be pumping harder and you’ll create a greater adaptive response to lose fat and improve core stability and muscle tone.

Not enough rest

Do you need a break? Don't stress, your progress won't disappear!

If you do weight training properly, your body and mind need the proper amount of time to recover. You need a break.

If you are a beginner using lighter weights the particular muscle group trained will typically need less time to recover, perhaps four clear days without working out. If you are more experienced, you will typically need seven clear days to recover for the muscles to have properly healed. As you become stronger and fitter it is possible to achieve a higher level of ‘muscular failure’ than it was before.

Many women attend Crossfit or difficult circuit training group classes that do not tailor the pace or intensity to individual abilities. In general, relatively fewer women spend time the weights room or with resistance machines performing simple and safe compound movements. Crossfit is an incredibly demanding and technically difficult exercise programme and those whose business it is to sell Crossfit classes are focussed on regular attendance at sessions - not on promoting a healthy amount of recovery time.

As a rule of thumb, if you perform less well in one session compared to the session before, it can be a good indication you are working too hard and are overtraining. Next time, give yourself an extra day of rest to recover before training the same muscle group again. Remember that compound movements train lots of muscles at the same time so make sure you know what muscles you are working and give them adequate rest.

All of this is is only true if you have followed the advice in point number one above. That is: you must have reached muscular failure during the session to get great results!

Train with a partner

A work out partner can help you perform exercises safely and give you a boost

I see a lot of women ‘going it alone’ in the weights room. It is much safer and more effective to train under the supervision of a Personal Trainer or a training partner that knows what they are doing. They can 'spot' you and help you with your form when performing exercises. In particular, they can help you achieve a proper level of failure. If you are a beginner and choose a friend as your training partner, it is preferable for them to be more experienced. Having a training partner also helps keep you accountable if you don’t much feel like going to the gym.

If you have any questions about female weight training programmes, leave your questions in the comments area below and I will answer them!

Good luck!
David


Failure is good for you

Fail Your Way To Success

Fail your way to success

What is your definition of success?

Who do you look at as a successful businessman, successful sports performer, actor, celebrity or even a successful family role model?

Failure is good
How many times did you fail today?

In today’s world of instant gratification and the wonderful filters of social media it’s easy to be manipulated into thinking that success is out of your grasp. The dream of a life of excitement, adventure, fulfilment and happiness, remains just a dream and so you make the decisions to settle for something much less than you really want. You go for the “safe” option, the easy job, the comfortable existence, the slightly boring relationship, the acceptable house and the OK life when deep down you know that this isn’t the life that you really crave.

You can fail doing what you don’t want, so you may as well go after what you do.

So many people don’t even bother trying because they see others doing so well in a way that feels so out of reach from their current reality that they decide that there’s no point in even attempting to pursue their dreams.

Herein lies the huge problem.

It is my belief that through fear of judgement by others, we often decide that it is better to avoid something challenging altogether rather than try and fail. If the chances of success are so slim then why even bother trying? The truth is that in any area of life, a certain amount of failure is inevitable. We cannot control the external events that lead to this failure, only the way in which we respond to them.

It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default. J.K Rowling

Life isn’t about accepting something less than you truly want, it’s about pushing for the best. It’s about realising your true potential and becoming the best possible version of yourself.

This doesn’t mean more money and more material possessions, they may be nice to start with but they won’t ultimately make you happy.

It’s about being the best son or daughter you can be, the best parent, aunty or uncle, the perfect partner, the reliable friend, the friendly neighbour or just the positive person that you want to meet. It’s about having a vision for what you want for your life and for the lives of those that are most important to you and setting out to achieve that. It’s about getting knocked down and getting back up to push on when times get tough.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky

The path to success is not a straight line and there is no fixed route for everyone to take. It will be constantly changing and challenging and that’s the joy of it! When we take the easy path we learn nothing about ourselves, nothing about others and nothing about how we can grow and improve.

The key to your health and fitness success is to embrace failure. If you are going to change your body then you need to train it to the point of failure in order for your body to make the physical changes. You need to embrace the pain and recognise that when it starts to get tough that’s when you need to hang in there a little bit longer and make those last few repetitions count.

I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting. Mohammed Ali

Failure is good for you
Failure at the weights rack means success at the mirror

Failure teaches us so much. It gives us a chance to evaluate where we went wrong and what we need to improve about ourselves and our current circumstances in order to make things better. Failure gives us an opportunity to learn so much about our current situation and what is really important to us. It also teaches us who really matters in our lives. Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re a success but the people who are most important will show up as the ones that stick around through the dark days. Failure teaches us to be humble and appreciate what we already have, it shows and who and what is really important in our lives and ultimately what makes us truly happy.

This is why we have to fail as much and as often as we can!

 


Foam Rolling Benefits: The Truth About Foam Rolling

  • Foam Rolling Benefits: The Truth About Foam Rolling

Foam rolling - applying specific and direct pressure to portions of affected muscle tissue using gravity and a cylindrical piece of foam (sometimes with a general rocking motion to apply greater pressure).

I'm sure you've seen it happening in the gym, maybe you were left wondering 'why?'.

Most of us experience some kind of muscular pain, stiffness or soreness from time to time. This can affect our workouts and prevent us from getting sufficient recovery. Pain and tension may even prevent you from moving freely and deter you from working out - I've been there and know how demoralising this can be.

However, help comes in the form of an unassuming cylindrical piece of foam that is popping up in home gyms and living rooms everywhere.

A foam roller, yesterday

Why are people doing it?

Foam Roller Benefits

I have seen foam rollers achieve amazing things (I recommend this one), the top foam roller benefits are:

  • Relieving trigger points and tension by applying isolated pressure to certain areas on your body (that you could not achieve with stretching alone).
  • Improve flexibility which is key for your training goals.
  • Increase blood flow and promote healing and injury recovery.
  • Foam rolling is a great tool to not only add to your gym routine but also your daily routine - foam rollers are highly portable and can work well alongside a decent Swiss Ball regime.
Foam rolling benefits: Having a foam roller helps you target the source of pain and tension with greater precision than therapeutic or sports massage

Personalised and Targeted 'Massage'

Deep tissue massage works along the same sort of lines as foam rolling, however even a great therapist may be unable to tell exactly where the pain is, meaning that they may be unable to give those troublesome areas the pinpointed pressure they need.

Using a foam roller puts you in control and allows you to target the affected areas, ensuring you benefit a lot more.

How to perform a foam rolling exercise

Simply place the roller on the ground, gently press down on it muscle in question, and use a different range of motions until you find the affected area.

Work that area gently, place just a little bit of pressure on the roller.

Which Foam Rolling Exercises Should I Do to maximise foam rolling benefits?

My London gym studio uses the following guide that I put together on foam rolling, I decided to include it for you here:

Enter your email address and I will send you a free one pager guide to my favourite foam rolling movements

The Four Pillars of Health - Why Foam Rolling is a Key Part of Your Strategy

As I talk about here, the new physique that you are looking for this year will come from four things (and nothing else):

  • Nutrition
  • Training
  • Mindset
  • Recovery

The first three I've already written plenty on over at my Four Pillars blog, but I haven't yet zoomed in on Recovery that much.

Foam rolling benefits - often foam rollers are effective in targeting calve cramps
Tight, inflexible calves can often be addressed by foam rolling techniques

People often associate knots, trigger points, and tension with “over-training” I don’t agree with this theory.

Yes, training does physically damage the muscle fibres and connective tissue, but the whole purpose of training is to push beyond your previous capabilities, to challenge your body in new ways and to force your body to adapt and create a leaner stronger physique.

The problem is not over-training, no...

...The real issue is under-recovering.

If one of my clients is suffering from any type of muscular pain, stiffness or soreness, perhaps from a recent injury or health complaint then foam rolling is a key part of my tool belt in starting the recovery process.

Too much sitting can cause knots, trigger points and tension.

Too much sitting and bad posture 

Knots, trigger points, and tension can be quite uncomfortable. We were made to move a lot more than we tend to, and those of us who don’t move around as much as we should, often suffer from knots and trigger points. It's received wisdom that modern life is all too sedentary, and it's true.

These ill effects can occur for a number of reasons but most commonly they result from postural imbalances or too much sitting, which your body just isn’t designed to do!

Studies have shown that if you tend to spend a lot of time sitting down, you could me more prone to suffering from trigger points. Let’s imagine you work 8 hours a day sat at a desk in front of a computer. If the work you’re doing is particularly stressful, you may be unconsciously rolling your shoulders forward, and tensing them.

One of the key foam rolling benefits is its ability reduce these effects of knots, trigger points and muscle tension.

But sitting at a desk for long periods of time is not the only cause of trigger points, they can also be caused by:

  • Joint pain
  • Lack of exercise
  • Bad posture
  • Sleep issues
  • Poor diet/vitamin deficiency
  • Sports injuries

Can foam rolling cause nerve pain?

As with anything in life, if one person is saying great things about something, someone else quickly wants to shoot them down. One of the purported drawbacks of using a foam roller is rumoured to be that  you can hit a nerve or cause damage to tissues through their use. Ignore this rubbish and focus on performing the exercises correctly, take your time to increase your movements and nerve or tissue damage is extremely unlikely.

Foam rolling benefits - foam rolling should mean good pain which means you're on your way to recovery
When performed correctly, foam rolling should only cause 'good pain' that is aiding the recovery process.

Does foam rolling hurt?

Another supposed downside to using a foam roller is that those new to this procedure may feel uncomfortable doing it. Using the roller as directed, you will be moving your affected areas in different ways, and you may therefore experience a bit of pain. But it's good pain! Just like a deep tissue massage, using a roller may be slightly uncomfortable, foam rolling benefits are undeniable.

If you are very stiff and tender, I recommend trying a soft roller (or rolled up towel) or tennis ball , as they may be more gentle on your muscles.

Foam rolling benefits - PTs: foam rollers can really help your clients with recovery
Foam rolling benefits - Help your clients recover by advising them on the benefits of foam rolling

Advice for trainers looking to implement a foam rolling regime and deliver foam rolling benefits for their clients

  • Advise your clients to buy a foam roller if they are suffering from trigger points, muscle stiffness or general muscle pain (for any problem cases, obviously advise that they see a doctor first).
  • Download my guide to the top 10 foam rolling exercises (above).
  • Using a foam roller will boost their recovery time and improve the results you are able to achieve for them. If you're the person that solves problems for your clients, they will love you and your marketing programme will run itself.
  • Educate your clients on the foam rolling benefits. Clients who regularly use a foam roller will have:
    • Increased muscle and joint flexibility
    • Improved posture
    • A lower risk of injuries
    • A decrease in their recovery times

If your clients understand the benefits of foam rolling, they will be more inclined to use one.

p.s. remember foam rolling should be implemented alongside a proper training, recovery and stretching routine.

Cheers

David