Muscle Maintenance | Why Pulsing Is Superior to Foam Rolling
The trendy recovery technique over the past decade has been “rolling” or “rolling out” muscles and tendons, utilizing trigger point therapy with the hope of productive myofascial release. Unfortunately, not all trends are positive. Muscle rolling can be ineffective and even when done correctly, can cause injuries throughout the body. WAVE5 introduces a technique called “pulsing” which is effective, efficient, and leaves you and your muscles healthy, happy, and hydrated. Our device offers the best sports massage you can get packed into one muscle rolling tool.
Seven Takeaways from this Article:
- Pulsing a targeted muscle group is superior to Foam Rolling. The Wave5: Compass App shows you exactly how to Pulse.
- Always perform muscle recovery and release techniques slowly.
- Muscle rolling doesn’t have to hurt to be effective.
- Each target muscle needs to be addressed from multiple angles for effective recovery.
- Allowing tissue to adapt to pressure (trigger point therapy) yields the greatest results.
- A little pressure goes a long way.
- Targeting deep tissue from multiple angles leads to more hydration and relief.
The Main Issue with Tissue Rolling
Muscle rolling uses constant pressure as you travel from one part of a muscle to another. The speed, amount, and type of pressure are usually determined when a person begins the rolling process—they pick a spot and quickly press into it until it hurts and then steamroll the tissue in that area. The pressure applied doesn’t typically fluctuate or cater to the individual needs of different parts of the muscle.
If all muscle fibers in a targeted muscle had equal wear, use, and damage then rolling would be a valuable technique. However, each part of a muscle gets used at varying rates so some parts are more worn and susceptible to strain than others. Rolling ignores this reality and reduces recovery success. In short, there are three major drawbacks to this “one size fits all” roll-happy method: (1) speed, (2) depth, and (3) angle of attack.
First, the speedy tempo of rolling does not serve muscle recovery. Why? The faster you roll over the tissue, the more superficial the movements become. If you travel quickly over muscle, the surface tissue below the skin feels the effects but you don’t reach the underlying deep tissue which needs attention. Moreover, a speedy pace can trigger random jolts of pain when you run over tender spots. When you roll quickly over a tender point, your body protects itself by contracting or tensing the muscle to fight against the pressure. This leads to one of two things: (1) the muscle you’re targeting is more likely to be damaged or (2) other muscles are strained as they pull away from the pain.
Takeaway: Always perform muscle recovery techniques slowly.
Second, rolling tends to use the wrong type of pressure. People tend to associate rolling with the mantra that more pressure is better: the more pain, the more gain. Rolling with too much pressure doesn’t allow muscles time to adapt to the pressure and therefore can shock the system. Your body reacts to this stress by holding your breath, fighting through the movement, jerking away, or spasming. This fight or flight reaction uses other muscles to help you escape from pain. You are at risk of pulling a muscle, adding unintended pressure to that area by jerking and returning or damaging adjacent tissue. Your body is reacting instead of responding.
Moreover, some people roll so aggressively that they bruise. This is counterproductive to healing your tissue. You should not feel like you got into a fight the day after your muscle recovery session.
Takeaway: Muscle recovery doesn’t have to hurt to be effective.
Third, rolling generally approaches muscle recovery from only one angle. Rolling typically is performed by applying pressure straight down to tissue that rests over bone. This makes your pressure difficult to regulate and compresses the target tissue between the tool and the bone beneath the tissue. The problem with this sandwich effect is that your muscles are three dimensional and simply smashing them with pressure is two dimensional. Rolling does not allow pressure from multiple sides (i.e., front, back, and side) that would yield great results. Relying on one angle of pressure leaves some areas of muscle neglected while others only receive a fraction of the benefit.
Takeaway: Each muscle needs to be addressed from multiple angles for effective recovery.
Relieve Tight Target Muscle Areas by Pulsing!
WAVE5 utilizes the Pulse, a tempo-guided wave of pressure that travels from one end on a muscle to the other. The Pulse introduces gradual pressure and uses varying levels of intensity instead of uniform force. This allows individualized attention to be paid to each part of the tissue. This process gives your muscles an opportunity to adapt to the pressure.
First, unlike rolling, the tempo of the Pulse is slow and deliberate. The movement is based on the premise that for optimum recovery, the tissue must have ample time to adapt. Pulsing encourages you to go slower than is intuitive. This allows you to move beyond the surface tissue and into deeper areas that need the pressure to accelerate recovery. This pace permits the muscle to relax and willingly accept pressure. In turn, this reduces the likelihood of treating or triggering a tender spot with too much pressure. The Pulse also puts less stress on your entire body as its’ slow tempos allow you to breathe into the pressure as opposed to fighting it.
Takeaway: Allowing tissue to adapt to pressure yields the greatest results.
Second, the Pulse uses your “feel good” intensity which is a pressure level that falls somewhere between “that feels really good” and “ouch that hurts”. Knowing that (1) you control the intensity and (2) your pressure doesn’t have to hurt to work means that you’re less likely to trigger unwanted tension in the areas you’re targeting, the surrounding muscles, and your body. This increases the effectiveness of your muscle recovery and minimizes the chance of injury. The varying levels of pressure you experience with the pulse also limit the strain on your muscle and leave you feeling as if you got in a good workout post-treatment as opposed to being punched.
Takeaway: A little pressure goes a long way.
The third advantage of the Pulse extends beyond pressure and tempo because it treats the muscle as three dimensional. Tight muscles have limited movement and are often inhibited by the surrounding fascia and other muscles. This overlapping requires attention from multiple angles to yield quality results. Instead of smashing the muscle into bone, pulsing approaches the muscle from multiple angles and separates the tissue. This allows you to affect a larger surface area of the target. Moreover, separating the tissues gives you more complete treatment in the muscle and the tissues that lay under and around.
Takeaway: Targeting tissue from multiple angles leads to more complete results.
Efficiency and effectiveness are the waves of today and so is the Pulse. Get the most from your recovery with the Pulse and feel your best today!