Seems every dancer’s doing it but what is the purpose and value in using a foam roller? And, should you be doing it too? Here’s the 411 on fascia and foam rolling.
range of motion
While the image of a rubber band is useful in demonstrating the elastic nature of muscles in the stretch reflex, it’s not always as simple as the stretch/recoil and stretch-farther/less-recoil that we gain from thinking of muscles simply as rubber bands.
If you are stretching with the goal of long-term changes in your flexibility (for example, you can’t do the splits and would like to), save your stretching routine for after class or between barre and center when your muscles are “warm.” Generally speaking, both of the stretching techniques above have acute (short-lasting) effects on your range of motion before activity, but don’t really increase your overall flexibility.
When it comes to stretching and splits some dancers place intense emphasis on achieving the ideal static position, forgetting that this type of flexibility is only part of the picture. They compromise the health of their instrument – the body – as they push to extremes to get results, and get results fast.