Do you even roll bro? Foam rolling has become a common exercise therapy. The truth is, stretching only does so much for your body’s recovery. Research shows that optimizing recovery is just as important as your workout when it comes to hitting fitness goals. Here’s how to foam roll like a boss so that you can perform like a champ.

Make A Foam Roller Sandwich

If your workout is the meat, foam rolling is the bread. Roll before and after your workout. Foam rolling does way more than loosen up muscles. Foam roll prior to exercise instead of stretching. Stretching before a workout can cause you to lose strength, speed, and agility.

Foam rolling warms up crucial ligaments and tendons without overstretching them. Rolling after your workout can help prevent stiffness from sinking in.

Breaking Up Muscle Fascia Like Nobody’s Business

Foam rolling can do what stretching can’t: loosen up muscle fascia. Your muscle groups are wrapped in a thin casing of tissue called muscle fascia. Muscle fascia can get stiff and stick to the outside of your muscles. Rolling helps break up stiffness so that you’re ready to rock.

When you’re targeting muscle fascia, make sure to move in all directions. Muscle fascia encases the muscles in all 360 degrees. If you’re rolling out your thigh, hit the top, side, back, and inside of your leg at various angles.

Roll At A Turtle’s Pace

Roll with caution. Just as you can overstretch, you can over-roll. Go slow enough to feel what’s going on inside your muscles and soft tissues. Rolling can hurt. You’ll have to get used to a new pain scale, but once you do, don’t push it.

Roll with slow, purposeful motions. Treat it like a mediation. Relax your muscles as best you can and allow the roller to do its work. Focus on your breath. On workout days, you should spend at least 30 seconds to a minute on any given position. On recovery days, increase this to between two and three minutes.

Be consistent with your rolling habits, and be sure to hydrate ahead of time. Your soft tissues respond best to rolling when they’re hydrated.