Top athletes and fitness trainers swear by it, therapists and doctors recommend the Blackroll for back pain and tension. With the fascia roll, balls and cushions made of foam, the fasciae can be effectively massaged and activated – but the Blackroll is also suitable as a sports device.
It’s called Blackroll, fascia roll, Pilates or simply simply fitness roll. In the gym, on the yoga mat or at home, more and more fitness enthusiasts are rolling their bodies in different positions over mostly black plastic cylinders. The exercises relieve tension in the muscles. In addition, the fascia roll makes muscles and connective tissue more elastic, better blood circulation and preparation for training – thus avoiding injuries.
Article content at a glance:
What is a blackroll?
The Blackroll is a fascia roll that consists of a firm, dimensionally stable, yet flexible foam that only yields under greater pressure with its own body weight. The fascia massage with the Blackroll is recommended about two to three times a week. The Blackroll is available from different manufacturers. The standard roll is around 30 centimeters long, has a diameter of 15 centimeters and weighs between 120 and 150 grams, depending on the manufacturer.The center of the cylinder is usually provided with a hole. The foam material can be cleaned with hot water and a little cleaning agent; no caustic or solvent-based cleaning agents should be used.
Blackroll activates fascia in the back and neck
Exercises with the Blackroll directly address the fasciae: the connective tissue envelops every muscle and individual muscle fibers and ensures the mobility of the muscle groups. Usually the fascia covering is very elastic. However, the very adaptable tissue suffers from a lack of exercise, one-sided stress or poor posture. It can stick together. Pain, hardening and tension are the result.
This is where fascia training or, better, self-massage with the Blackroll or Blackroll Ball comes in. Through the rolling movements, the fasciae and the underlying muscle cords are massaged and flexed, while the fluid is moved between the cells at the same time. With regular use, the tissue becomes soft and elastic again, and blood circulation and metabolism in the muscle fibers are also improved. In addition, the exercises noticeably reduce tension and improve mobility and performance.
How is the Blackroll used?
Self-massage with the Blackroll is simple, intuitive and also possible for beginners without prior knowledge. All you need is a firm, non-slip surface (for example yoga mat or carpet), light, but tight-fitting sports items such as leggings and T-shirts are best suited as clothing. Almost all parts of the body can be massaged yourself.
The Blackroll is very effective, for example:
- on the upper and lower back
- in the shoulder and neck area
- on the buttocks
- on the anterior and posterior thigh muscles
- on the calves
- on the sides of the thighs between hips and knees
- on the flanks of the torso between armpit and hip
For fascia training, lie down on the surface on your side or with your back – depending on which part of the body is to be massaged. The role is usually pushed across between the floor and the body. With your hands, forearms or legs supporting you roll over the Blackroll more or less slowly and with the support of your own body weight. You can pause for a while at individual parts and increase the pressure. At least eight to ten rolling movements should be performed per area. At first, the movements over the roller are not as smooth and sometimes painful. The pain is relieved by shifting the body weight more onto the supporting arms or legs.
Better to roll in one direction only?
Experts are still discussing whether the Blackroll should only be rolled in one direction or to and fro. If you only roll in one direction, namely in the direction of the vein reflux, you protect your venous valves. In addition, the intercellular fluid should be moved through the massage with the fascia roller. If you massage in both directions with the Blackroll, you will not push the old liquid away properly and the flow of fresh liquid can be prevented or delayed.
Use Blackroll Ball correctly
A variant of the fascia roll is the Blackroll Ball, which is used to massage specific areas of the body. The massage is best on the wall, on the floor or at a table.
Application of the Blackroll Ball:
- on the chest
- on the buttocks
- on the calf
- on the Achilles tendon
- on the back
- in the neck
- on the shoulder girdle
- on the forearm
- on the sole of the foot
Apply Blackroll while standing
Massaging while standing against a wall is particularly recommended for Blackroll beginners. As a result, you do not tense yourself too much in the individual positions and the pressure on painful areas can be better dosed. If you train more often with the Blackroll, you will notice after a few times that the pain is less and less noticeable. Immediately after the exercises, the muscles feel much more relaxed, the day afterwards there may be a sore muscles-like pain, which however subsides quickly.
Who shouldn’t use the Blackroll?
Experts agree that you can’t roll too much. Blackroll users should know, however, that the fascia roll does not replace a professional massage by a physiotherapist. Caution is also required with certain pre-existing conditions. These include, for example, venous disorders and varicose veins, skin disorders, muscle disorders, osteoporosis or the use of blood-thinning medication. Also after operations and during pregnancy, a doctor or therapist should be asked for advice before use.
The soft abdominal area is not suitable for rolling, users should also avoid the kidney area. Massage over the joints (knees, elbows) and directly on the cervical spine only with caution and without pressure – or leave out these areas entirely.
Blackroll for warming up and as a workout
The Blackroll is also suitable for warming up the muscles before exercise and to prevent injuries. After training, the roll cure promotes regeneration and helps to minimize or even avoid sore muscles.
Due to the round, yet light shape, the roller is an ideal training device to specifically train certain large muscle groups, but also the deep-seated, stabilizing core muscles. The equilibrium and balance are trained, the posture improves – this also helps to prevent tension or back pain.
How much do Blackroll and Ball cost?
Branded products cost around 30 euros and are available in sports shops or online. Many manufacturers also offer thinner rolls and balls made of the same material. In addition, there are rollers in different degrees of hardness, with corrugated or knobbed surfaces.
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