Foam rolling is a very-effective form of deep-tissue massage. To get the most benefit out of foam rolling, apply your own body-weight to the foam roller and slowly roll back and forth. The key to effective foam rolling comes from lots of practice. In the beginning, you might find that foam rolling is quite uncomfortable. My advice, be consistent with your technique and you will see results. Combine several foam roller exercises into a 15 or 20 minute routine and practice it daily. Follow it up with stretching and mobility work and you will be on your way to recovering better and becoming more flexible.
Deep-tissue massage with your foam roller makes your muscles longer and smoother. Trigger points, or knotty areas in your muscles, tend to be released through a process called myofascial release. Foam roller massage is relatively cheap and effective method of performing myofascial release. Stretching, without any deep-tissue massage, will only make the knots in your muscles tighter. Stretching immediately after deep-tissue massage with your foam roller will encourage the process of myofascial release.
The primary key to flexibility is stretching daily. Contract-relax stretching is a very effective form of increasing flexibility. Also, do stretches that hit multiple areas of the body simultaneously and increase your physical strength and overall health. Short, repeated exposure to stretching is more productive than a single intense or long bout of stretching. For example, stretching for 10 minutes everyday will get you better results then if you were to stretch for 70 minutes once a week.
Flexible movement requires a balance of muscle length and strength between opposing muscles around a joint. Normal amounts of opposing force between muscles are necessary to create muscle balance. Muscle imbalance occurs when opposing muscles are either too tight or too weak. Routinely practice good posture by sitting or standing tall. If you are having difficulty assessing your posture, be sure to contact a specialist who can help you identify and correct muscle imbalances.