These days foam rolling is almost universally accepted as a sports recovery technique for releasing tight fascial bands, especially in muscles of the upper thigh, lower leg and back.
But there is a much more effective rolling technique that is used by elite athletes to maintain the joint mobility they need to be able to regularly perform at their peak. It’s called Creep rolling.
What is Creep Rolling?
The name creep rolling is a little misleading. It’s not actually a rolling technique. As it’s name suggests, it’s a slow creep as the user moves over a specific series of trigger points in a muscle. Each trigger is held for 10-15 seconds before moving slowly to the next point up the body of the muscle. The purpose is to self release areas of tightness causing altered joint function. When muscle tightness causes changes to an athletes movement mechanics, injury is more likely to occur. Learning to identify the specific triggers and the referred pain patterns they cause is the function of Lockeroom’s purpose designed fascial creep roller, the Footeez.
Who needs Creep Rolling?
Foam rolling is a useful technique for deep muscle massage but if you are an athlete or are regularly involved in strenuous physical actively involving your legs, you are much more likely to benefit from the advanced trigger releases achieved by using a creep roller. The Lockeroom Footeez is recognised as the most effective Creep roller on the market.
Athletes involved in quad dominant activities such as running, jumping, rowing or cycling are more likely to experience tightness that alters pelvic mechanics and increases their susceptibility to injury. Any tightness that causes an increased anterior pelvic tilt and increased lumbar lordosis needs to be corrected. Using creep rolling to release lateral quad and ITB tightness is physical maintenance for athletes but should also be considered essential for anyone suffering from lower back or lateral knee pain.
What I tell my athletes
I cannot stress enough to the rugby players I work with, the importance of effective myofascial release in improving lower limb mobility, minimizing injury risk and improving performance. In my opinion, foam rollers are a great tool for training preparation but are not targeted enough for athletes.
It takes time to decrease tone in lateral quads and ITB, if they are tight. Best results are achieved using a combination of triggering using a Pocket Physio MAX and myo fascial creep rolling using a Footeez. To release lateral quads, players are expected to spend at least 20 minutes on the Footeez each session. It’s not designed to be comfortable, and it’s not unusual for players to complain, but the resultant benefits quickly become obvious to them if they understand why they are doing it.