Have you seen dancers with large, cylindrical devices poking out of their dance bags? Or have you seen fellow dancers lying on what looks like foam logs before class? These dancers are using foam rollers for self-myofascial release (SMR). SMR is a technique that rolls out muscle tightness and relieves knots in the connective tissue covering your muscle and bones and support the body’s major structures. This technique can be especially beneficial for dancers. Laura Di Orio shares some tips for using foam rollers from NYC personal trainer Marissa Joseph in a Dance Informa article. Marissa talks about how the technique works, how dancers should do it, when they should foam roll and shares success foam roller users have had with it. They have alleviated back, knee and foot pain. One success story reveals that a 68-year-old male client (who has always been an avid exerciser) used only foam rolling – no stretching at all – and successfully touched his toes for the first time in 20 years.
Marissa says that foam rolling is imperative for athletes. And dancers are athletes! “It’s totally essential for health and should be done every day as part of your daily routine,” she says. “Even if you don’t feel you are particularly tight, I still recommend rolling. I couldn’t stress its importance enough.” Read more of Marissa’s tips in the Dance Informa article, “Foam Rolling for Dancers”.
If you would like more information, see Jen Peter’s article in Dance Magazine. In this additional article, Jen notes that she believes roller (both foam and word) are the most commonly used tools among dancers. According to the director of Performing Arta Rehabilitation at AthletiCo in Chicago, Julie O’Connell, “Rolling is great for lengthening and pulling apart fascial tissue, especially plantar fascia on the bottom of feet, and the iliotibial band (IT) along the side of the thigh.” You can also use balls, notes O’Connell, tennis, racquet, rubber or even spiky ones.