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View Full Version : Foam Roller Crash and Burn


Ronnie Ashlock
02-04-2007, 12:02 AM
So, like a genius I got a foam roller last night to try and improve the integrity and flexibility in my IT Band. My aunt worked on the ITB like crazy when she was going through massage school. She recommended the roller, along with tennis balls and a golf ball roll for the fallen arch I have on my right foot. Anyway, the foam roller work on the ITB was excruciatingly good, just like when she pressed the crap out of ITB. It was so good, I followed it up in the morning with another round of intense foam roller ITB lovin'. What followed an hour later at my Olympic weightlifting class was not good. Every time I went into a squat I just about fell over. The soreness up and down the ITB was insane. I was stiffer and more clumsy than if I had done nothing.

Mostly, the class was a wash this morning. I wasn't able to do much of anything, because the second I tried to get under the bar, the achy soreness hit me hard. I told my coach about it and he said I might want to think about doing it after a work-out. I had read it wasn't a good idea to do it before a work out, but had to find out the hard way.

Got home tonight and did some more work with it, as I have read that foam rollin' is all about consistency - doing it every day (even twice a day if things are bad) until you really work the kinks out. I am in deep pain Nirvana with this thing. Seriously, I start seeing weird colors when I roll up into the hip area and around the mid-thigh. I love the moment when the muscle goes into its "fight, fight, fight... aw screw it and collapse" routine. That is the weirdest sensation. Afterwards, I feel like little moles are tunneling around in my legs.

Just thought I'd share.

Allison Barns
02-04-2007, 10:26 PM
I imagine it was like trying to work-out after a deep tissue massage. I used to have all kinds of trouble trying to do anything somewhat physical (like carry groceries) after a deep tissue massage for my neck/back injury. There's something in how the muscles relax but aren't ready to really work for a while. I'm sure one of the really smart folks here educated in this type of thing could explain it.

Ronnie Ashlock
02-04-2007, 11:25 PM
Allison, that sounds about right. I went in all excited for class but about half-way through it, I knew I had screwed myself royally with the roller massage. I thought I would be more limber, but my muscles where very "confused." Coordination wasn't great, and the ITB around the hip/buttocks area was just fuzzy and 'distant' feeling - when it wasn't screaming at me.

I got a pretty good workout in my garage tonight. Lots of light snatches (no heavier than 60 kg) with a focus on getting a deep squat then snatch pulls with straps (3x2 with 80 kg and 3X1 with 90) and followed up with some seated good mornings (5x3 with 40 kilos). No weirdo ITB problems tonight - but I didn't do any foam roller work beforehand. I didn't squat - I was a little afraid to push it - I got up to 120 yesterday with backsquats (1 for moderate depth and then 2 for full depth and I was done). I felt like either fronts or backs tonight were not a good idea. I was sore when I started tonight, but muscle-nerve communication was at least working properly and I was a bit more limber - surprisingly. I guess something is working with the rolling -even though it's only been two days in with it.

I then followed up the workout with some good food (bacon, turkey breast, bok choy, chopped garlic and chopped asparagus pan-fried in olive oil and sesame oil). Fish oil caps and some BCAA pills as well.

Then I did more foam roller work. In between sets of rolling, I would heat up this 'rice-bag' my aunt made for me and press it on my ITB. That rice bag is a lifesaver. It's just a cloth bag she sewed for me full of rice. It's about the size of a small pillow. She told me to heat it in the microwave for 4 minutes and then use it relax muscles, tendons, (works great for warming a cold bed, too). With the muscles warmed up, it was much easier to go in deep with that roller - not that it wasn't any less painful. Oddly enough, my right calf is a real piece of work - so sore when I roll it I thought I was gonna blow an O-Ring, but my left calf is completely non-plussed. I got that right calf feeling much better after 10 excruciating minutes, but it took a lot of grunting and screaming to get there.

Robb Wolf
02-05-2007, 12:26 PM
I would be hesitant to do a heavy session on muscles that have been hammered by deep tissue work. You can change firing patterns and really leave yourself open to injury.

If you did some deep work I'd stick with things like power snatches...little eccentric loading.

Ronnie Ashlock
02-05-2007, 01:46 PM
Robb, thanks for the advice. Yeah, definitely won't go heavy (relative for me in the first place) anymore after the roller. I know you have no way of knowing my condition, but, in your opinion, how often should a normalish, farily healthy guy who does the Olympic lifts, roll the IT band? Every thing I've read says to do it almost daily for quite awhile, but I don't want to go the other way and overdo it, as I am wont to do. I'm still fairly sore after rolling. From some of the articles I've read, that soreness is supposed to go away after consistent long-term sessions.

Robb Wolf
02-05-2007, 03:49 PM
I would roll them out after training. Mike said he does this and is fine. If you are feeling spicy in the IT band area just go lighter and really de-emphasize eccentric moves. Ice the heck out of that area also:

Get a few Styrofoam cups and fill them 3/4 full with water and then freeze them. Take one, peel the Styrofoam down to about an inch below the ice and use this to ice the affected areas for 5-7 min 3-5 times per day (the remaining cup will protect your fingers from the cold, nice bonus). It will hurt! Ice it to numbness . If you can do this for a few days you will cut weeks off the rehab time.

This is a cut and paste I use on cryotherapy. Just ice after training and rolling. You should be good to go!

Ronnie Ashlock
02-05-2007, 04:22 PM
Robb, thanks a ton! I like the MacGyver ice cup idea. Cheap and effective! Icing is the other advice I don't follow, even though I've been told to do it. No more excuses!

Steve Shafley
02-05-2007, 05:05 PM
Rolling can be tricky.

You've found out the hard way when and when you shouldn't roll.

Light rolling in the ITB would probably be ok, it's the really deep, shit-your-pants, rolling you shouldn't do before training.

In addition, if you do any "hot" recovery methods, that's a good time to roll as well (sauna, whirlpool, even hot morning shower).

If you're doing a full body session, I recommend starting with the golf ball on the feet, and then working your way up.

Ronnie Ashlock
02-05-2007, 05:19 PM
Shaf, will do. I read some of your other posts about how you smooth out the rough spots - all great ideas. This is good stuff. I'm telling folks I work with who are active about these little tricks. Can't hoard the info.

Allison Barns
02-05-2007, 05:22 PM
Ronnie, glad to see you got in a good workout despite yourself;)

Geez, with the home gym, tasty menu (that sounded yummy!) and roller sessions you could have quite the home business there! "Welcome to Ronnie's gym, cafe, and torture chamber! May I take your order?"

Oops, got to work in the hot-rice-bag to warm up the bed trick into that business somehow....

Yael Grauer
02-05-2007, 05:30 PM
If it makes you feel better, I destroyed my back with a TheraCane last night. I was so excited that my friend had one that I played with it for a while, and this morning had a hard time sitting up and everything! I even called in sick to work... I get ART tomorrow, so we'll see if that makes it better or worse. :rolleyes:

Ronnie Ashlock
02-05-2007, 05:49 PM
I gotta get a Theracane - but I need to work on the mullet first. I'm just not Billy Ray Cyrus enough yet.

Allison - I also make kick-butt espresso, even if I do say so myself. So I got all the bases covered. The home gym is the best. I like to get good coaching and enjoy working out with like-minded folks, but there's something great about having your own place that's open anytime you want it and there's no one there to mess with your chi (well ,my neighbor's crazy barking dog can be a little distracting). A real bar and good bumpers, five good pieces of plywood and some slabs of rubber and you have a great place to destroy all connective tissue and freak out your neighbors (could be why the dog barks so much). Plus, no embarrassment when you pull a bad lift and loose it.

Allison Barns
02-06-2007, 07:22 AM
Mmmm....espresso....make mine a double please.

Jennifer conlin
02-14-2007, 02:00 PM
As of the last month or so I've hit a wall. My two new friends are the foam roller and ice. Now that's not to say I've not been friends all along. Just a little closer right now.
First my shoulder is kinda messes up. It's the front part of my shoulder. It seems like bicipital tendonitis. I was doing good for a while with it. I was unable to do jumping pullups because this cause acute pain (front closest to my arm pit. It felt better as long as I stayed away from hanging or swinging).
Then I lost my mind and did a bunch of snatches. Now my the affected area is my tri, bicep and deltiod. All the way down into my elbow. My mood sucks since I'm going to a cert in about a month. AAAGh!
OK, then we have the IT band and patella tendonitis. I've been rolling and icing. As much as possible. Taking my fish oil, resting and eating pretty well. In the mean time I'm losing ground and going to a CF cert...aaaagh. I feel a bit more on top of the patella tendons deal. It's all very frustrating.:(