Whether you're a bodybuilder, athlete, or ordinary weekend warrior, it's important to have strength and optimal function through a full range of motion. While stretching will improve the length of the muscle, we need Self Myofascial Release and massage work to adjust the tone of the muscle. Imagine trying to pull apart pizza dough without rolling it out first, it would tear into big clumps.
Scar tissue, adhesions, trigger points or knots are areas of increased muscle density or a small patch of tightly contracted muscle. They are often formed due to under or overactivity, accidents, surgery, poor posture and (or) stress. Build up of scar tissue or adhesions can cause pain in the shoulder, upper and lower back, hip, knee, arms, hands and feet as well as head aches. In severe cases where their is Myofascial pain due to scar tissue and adhesions, the pain can and often is misdiagnosed as a nerve problem such as sciatica, carpel tunnel syndrome or Fibromyalgia.
Self Myofascial release offers an effective, inexpensive, and convenient way to both reduce adhesions, scar tissue accumulation, and eliminate what's already present on a daily basis. It also makes muscle more pliable so you can reap the benefits of resistance training as well as reduce injury.
Foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as a massage therapist, without the big price tag. Here are some of the benefits of Self Myofascial Release.
- Improved mobility and range of motion.
- Reduction of scar tissue and adhesions.
- Decreased tone of overactive muscles.
- Improved quality of movement.
- Aids in correcting postural deficiencies.
- Increased blood flow to aid in recovery from a strenuous training session.
- Increase training efficiency.
- Fill in the gaps between hands-on sessions of deep tissue massage.
“Volunteers who received deep tissue massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.”
NYTimes Research Science Section: “Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep.” Rabin, September 20, 2010
Their are a few contraindications to using the foam roller or any of the other implements for Self Myofascial Release.
- Recently injured areas.
- Circulatory problems.
- Chronic pain conditions (e.g., fibromyalgia) •
- Bony prominences/joints.
If you have or suspect you may have any of the above PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN!!!
Tools You Need
The foam roller is the largest most versatile implement we use, as you can work almost every muscle group using this alone. Rollers also come in varying densities, which allows for progression as well.
The Med Ball is more versatile then the foam roller because it is more focal because it is smaller and it allows you to work in a more three-dimensional fashion.
Tennis ball / Lacrosse ball / Baseball / Golf ball
Much like the Med Ball but because of its small diameter it is extremely effective in getting into hard to reach areas. (i.e. the foot, chest, posterior shoulder, calves and shins)
It’s narrow diameter allows you to work on some muscles better than a medicine ball or foam roller would. The Stick is a great option for the hamstrings, which generally don’t respond well to foam rolling since your hands/arms are supporting the majority of your body weight to hold yourself up.
When and how long should i foam roll?
Both before and after a workout and any time in between. Foam rolling prior to a workout can help decrease muscle density and promote a better warmup. Rolling after a workout may help muscles recover from strenuous exercise. A foam rolling session may normally last five to 10 minutes before warm up and after of the training session.
A quality strength training program from a good coach or trainer will work to improve length/tension relationships, naturally aligning the body and decreasing the likelihood of “over stressed” muscles. Tissue quality can naturally improve due to the inclusion of Self Myofascial Release techniques in the strength training program.
In the EVOLVE Manual we will address some of the common sites that can cause most of the aches and pains we deal with on a daily basis.
These techniques MAY NOT CURE YOU but they will help!
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