When I work with young athletes, I begin each training session with foam rolling, activation, and stretching before we start moving. I call it “movement prep”….prepping the body for the movement to come. Foam rolling can help decrease muscle density and allow for a better warm-up so we start with rolling. Then we use bands and stretches, targeting the hips, hamstrings, quads. I stress the importance of all of this to my athletes, but most–if not all–need to “see” it to believe it.
Here is a split picture of an athlete I worked with recently. I had him do a toe touch first. Then repeated the toe touch after each movement prep exercise.
Left: prior to foam rolling. Middle: after foam rolling. Right: after foam rolling and activation/stretching.
It was a good way to show him the difference each activity makes on his body.
So the next time you exercise, first foam roll….then activate and stretch and see what a difference this “movement prep” makes on your training session.