Stretching versus foam rolling. Which is best to relieve soreness and help with mobility?
You may have noticed that I don’t include stretching before SLAM workouts. This is intentional. Studies have actually found that stretching prior to a workout generates less muscle force. Instead, I take you through a dynamic warm up that preps the body and helps you connect with your core.
But what about after your workout? Can it prevent soreness? Let’s chat.
First of all–muscles are often tight because they are weak. The human body is a master compensator, and it finds stability where it can. While stretching can be great and bring some temporary relief, if you don’t also strengthen…then the overworked muscle won’t get long term relief. In short–stretching can be great for mobility and relief of immediate aches and pains, but you need to be sure you are strategically working the muscles that are causing the tightness in the first place.
Moms tend to hold a lot of tension in the hip flexors specifically. We do this for a few reasons. Our hip flexor muscles kind of check out while pregnant. And remember, a weak muscle is probably going to be a tight muscle. Your hip flexors also help you find core strength where it is missing, so it is highly likely that you hold tension in your hips and low back. Here are some stretches to bring relief.
And of course, the Strong Like A Mother program works hard to strengthen those mom muscles that need extra love (core, glutes, hip flexors).
Now let’s talk about foam rolling.
If you only have a few minutes each day to dedicate to recovery work, this is the way to go. Foam rolling helps “release” fascial tension. Think about it this way. Your fascia is like a sausage casing. If that fascia is more malleable, our muscles can work in a greater range of motion. Foam rolling is like massaging that sausage casing so that your muscles can move with more ease. You don’t want knots in your sausage casing…am I right? This is obviously an oversimplification, but in short–when we have less tension, our mobility improves, our form improves, and we get some relief from soreness, too.