Golfers: Foam Rolling is Not a Workout

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I like the foam roller. I encourage everyone to use one.

But just like every good thing, there is always a downside.

The one issue with foam rolling is that people spend way too much time on them. Rolling out to start or end a session shouldn’t take more time than the workout itself.

I don’t think its OK to spend 30 minutes trying to get loose. If that’s the case then we need to figure out why someone is so wound up to begin with.

Lets take a look at foam rolling.

Why Even Foam Roll? 

Foam rolling is good for reducing muscle tension. Just like getting a massage, the foam roller helps relieve stress in muscles and help with circulation.

This is most likely why people get infatuated with the foam roller. I usually feel better after I roll out. It helps.

When we release tension, we are setting the stage for improving mobility and strength. It is harder to improve these two qualities when the body is not functioning optimally.

This makes rolling a great addition to a warm up. It will certainly help get the body ready for the activities that are going to take place after using it.

Not Making Long Term Change

The roller helps reduce tension. It does not work miracles though.

Strength and mobility are two qualities that are important for golf. These things will not improve without strength and mobility training. Rolling out first just enhances the ability for these things to work.

Think of muscle tension like the parking brake on a car. Things are not going to go well while it is on but you still need to drive after releasing the brake.

The roller helps release the brake but you need to train to drive the car.

I am also hesitant to concede that rolling helps improve mobility. Mobility requires movement. Just releasing tension by itself is not movement. After getting off of the roller we need to practice moving through better ranges of motion.

How Much Rolling Should You Do? 

I think 3-5 exercises on the foam roller is perfect before a workout. This should only take about 5 minutes. Go slow and deliberate but that is still plenty of time.

Some of my favorite spots to hit are the glutes, quads, lats, upper back, and groin. If something hurts a lot to roll out, then it probably needs your attention.

A lot of people have tight lats and will only roll them when told to because it is uncomfortable. The kicker is that they won’t be as bad if you do it every day. Then you do not need to spend as much time on them.

If you are someone that cannot get loose unless you spend a really long time on the roller then we need to figure out why you have so much tension.

Over time, rolling should improve tension. It progressively gets better. Some days may be worse than others but in general you should see noticeable improvement.

You can also spend a few minutes at the end of the session rolling out. This is a good way to begin the recovery process.

Rolling is not and should not be your entire workout. Your training session should be mostly strength and mobility work with rolling just playing a complementary role.