Our Active Kit products are making waves.
We know why they are good, because our clients tell us so.
Our Active Foam Roller, Active Trigger Ball, Active Bands and the Mini Roller are all products to use both before and after exercise. They will warm you up – and warm you down.
But why does our roller allow users to warm up and recover effectively? And why do we believe our roller is far more effective than others?
Sports Therapist Lauren Dobson explains the science behind our Active Roller and what it does to the body.
Foam rolling is not a new phenomenon but has recently become one of the most popular forms of soft tissue release (STR) performed by the individual rather than a practitioner.
The idea of a foam roller is to replicate the effects of sports massage. There are a number of positive effects of foam rolling and STR including; increase in mobility, improved flexibility, and promotion of recovery.
So how and why do they work?
Exercise, activity, injury and the rigours of everyday life can cause specific areas of muscle tightness, fascial adhesions and trigger points that restrict mobility and performance. Breaking up these stubborn problem areas by foam rolling will allow soft tissue to operate correctly again by targeting these fascial adhesions and trigger points, improving blood flow and reducing muscle soreness and effects of fatigue.
Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together; a web of fibrous, gluey and wet proteins that hold all the muscles together and separates individual muscle groups.
Fascia also has a big role in stability and mobility and is crucial in performance, recovery and is present in our daily life activities such as breathing motions and joint movements. Fascia connects our head to our toes, which is why another name for it you may have come across is ‘connective tissue’.
It can be easily explained like a knitted sweater; tug one end of the wool and you will see the tug travel to the other end of the sweater.
It is crucial that muscles and connective tissue are in the correct state for you to work out.
Award-winning cyclist Matt Bottrill loves his Active Foam Roller
For example, it is tough to squat with the correct technique if you can’t open your hips and it’s hard to snatch-lift a weight if you can’t externally rotate the shoulders correctly. To run with a tight Achilles tendon/calf results in a poor running technique and creates compensation through the knees and hips.
Reduced muscle soreness = better performance = effective recovery.
Foam rolling and STR techniques work by returning muscles and soft tissue to their native form.
‘Juicy fascia is happy fascia’ – the fascia becomes springier and resilient the more hydrated it is. The springier the fascia, the slower it will fatigue and improve its elastic quality allowing greater range and flexibility.
The key to recovery is how the fascia rehydrates. Without rehydration by soft tissue mobilisation and enhancing blood flow, the fascia will suffer and create adhesions that restrict your range of movement.
“The Active Roller is harder, the shape is good and it really works too.” – Molly Summerhayes (British Ski and Snowboard Park & Pipe Team)
Foam rolling does just the job you need by increasing the blood flow and actively mobilising the soft tissue to help gain the desired outcome.
Actively compressing tissues like the fascia stimulates and refreshes circulation; releases the pressure of tight structures, improves blood flow and prevents excessive thickening of connective tissue. As a result, it rehydrates the fascia and promotes recovery.
Keeping the fascia ‘loose’ is crucial for maintaining natural settings for alignment and function in the body and prevents small problems snowballing into larger ones. It keeps injuries from becoming chronic issues and keeps you mobile and functional through life.
As a result, variation is important. For example, if you sit in the same seated position at a desk on the computer every day, for a number of years, muscle memory and fascial position holds this position and can lead to poor postures, tight muscles, musculoskeletal abnormalities and unhealthy tissues.
Variating movements and positions throughout the day will help reduce the chances of this happening. Foam rolling will also help prevent this from occurring.
The Active Roller has been specifically designed to allow the body to get into positions where it can apply the most effective force on a specific area.
Tom shows how to effectively roll your glutes with the Active Roller
It is made with a robust hard plastic core which provides a more effective compression force. The outer area’s ‘helix profile’ allows the underlying tissue to move within its profile to create an active compression to the structures. This results in a more beneficial way of mobilising the soft tissue. The length, width and circumference of the Active Roller have all been specifically designed to be more valuable for the athletic body.
There have been positive results from foam rolling in terms of attenuating muscle soreness, improving muscle activation and the passive and dynamic range of movement.
The active compression gained from the helix profile, instead of mere static compression, also leads to positive effects. They can be; a sensory influence on nerves, stimulation of spinal nerve roots, reduction in neurologic pain and numbness, an emptying of the veins and lymphatic spaces which encourages circulation and a freeing of the tissues from waste and broken-up scar tissue.
They also reduce muscle soreness and joint stiffness, improve joints’ range of movement, improve short term flexibility, enhance blood flow and effectively loosens muscles and fascial structures.
The idea is to work on each body part for around 60 seconds with the Active Roller. That includes the; calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, lower back, mid back, upper back, and the lats.
For a more aggressive approach, the Active Kit includes the Active Trigger Ball which targets more localised trigger points, delivering a compression technique more direct to specific areas such as the glutes, upper traps, pecs and plantar fascia.
Trigger points are irritable nodules. In layman’s terms – a bundle of muscle fibres that have been irritated and result in specific areas of muscle tightness which are painful to touch and can create a twitch when compressed. Trigger points are usually caused by an acute crisis or repetitive irritation.
Most trigger points cause a referred pain on compression and can change joint alignment, posture, muscle length and muscle strength/power.
The active trigger ball is perfect to release these trigger points with a very similar theory to the Roller by; increasing blood flow, stimulating neural patterns, reducing pain and numbness, breaking up fascial adhesions and improving joints’ range of motion.
The Active Trigger Ball
Function Jigsaw are proud to be injury management suppliers to athletes from the British Ski and Snowboard Park & Pipe Team. One of their competitors, Molly Summerhayes has competed in Junior World Championship and World Cups and she is a huge fan of the Active Roller
She said: “I use the Active Roller after every gym session. Some of the rollers around are really soft and don’t really get to where you need them to. The Active Roller is harder, the shape is good and it really works too. They are really good to take away and everyone in the team has been using them. The only trouble is deciding whose is whose when they are strewn all over the team room!”
Like this? Try this – Why a good warm-up is crucial for performance using the Active Kit.
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