1. Foam roll and stretch after a workout.
If you immediately follow up an intense workout with a session of foam rolling and stretching you will be less likely to procrastinate the tasks until it ends up slipping from your mind completely. Often we tell ourselves that we’ll set aside some time within the next few days for some much needed rehabilitation, but the longer we put it off, the less of a priority it becomes. On the other hand, following up immediately after training will make it more likely that you will follow through, and you will likely be so exhausted from your workout that your body will be begging for restoration time for your muscles. To increase your chances of following through, make sure your mat, foam roller, and any other equipment needed are close by so you don’t spend time searching for them after the workout. It’s a good idea to have it set up before you head out to the gym so when you arrive home it’s already set up and ready to be used.
2. Break up the sessions into small increments.
Most find it difficult to dedicate extended periods of time to foam rolling and stretching if they consider it to be too inactive or boring. If you’re one of these people, it’s best to break up your sessions into small increments as to not become bored or unengaged. If you try and fail to stretch or roll for extended periods you may eventually find yourself avoiding the task completely. Find either 10 or 15 minute periods after your workouts that you can use for foam rolling and stretching, but make sure to engage in the practices regularly and consistently to achieve results.
3. Don’t spend too much time on one area.
As I mentioned earlier, if you spend too much time on the activity, you may begin
avoiding it completely. This is true in regards to how much time is spent on a specific body part as well. If you aren’t rolling or stretching the right areas or you’re spending extended amount of time on certain areas more than others than you will get bored and you won’t see as effective results. In order to maximize your rehabilitation session, make sure that you’re focusing on the areas that need to be released. If you just finished an intensive leg day, you don’t want to waste time on unnecessary upper body stretches. Also, make sure to not spend too much time on a specific body part and neglect other parts that may need to be stretched or rolled as well.
4. Foam roll and stretch with a friend.
The buddy system works great for workouts, but it can also be utilized to keep you accountable for your rehabilitation afterwards as well. If you ask your gym partner to stretch and foam roll with you, you will both be more likely to do it. Not only that but stretching with a friend can be made more fun simply because he or she is there doing it with you. You can chat during the activity, introduce new techniques to each other, and help each other into deeper stretches if needed.
5. Use different equipment to increase difficulty.
This relates more to stretching than to foam rolling but sometimes you may find yourself bored with stretching simply because you are not being challenged enough. It’s a completely different type of activity than sprinting long distances, lifting heavy weights, or dancing in fast paced Zumba classes. If we aren’t challenged enough with an activity, we will find ourselves bored or frustrated. This often occurs with stretching simply because many aren’t aware that there are many different types of equipment that can be utilized to help in giving a better or more difficult stretch. Yoga blocks and straps are great tools to use in order to achieve more advanced poses. Another great idea is to use suspension straps which will add a different element to stretching that switches up the regular, boring routine.