By PT Dane Paterson
Continuing on with stretching, today I will be talking about Self-Myofascial Release otherwise known as Foam Rolling.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) or foam rolling is a self-massaging technique used to release muscle tightness or trigger points, assist normal blood flow and function in muscles. Self-myofascial release is a technique used by many professional athletes, trainers/coaches and allied health professionals and has been for a long time. Your own hands, a lacrosse, a foam roller or a theracane are examples of instruments that can all be used to perform the technique.
Foam rolling practiced regularly can achieve many benefits, some in which are often gained from sports massages.
These benefits include:
- reduces inflammation
- reduces muscle pain
- reduces scar tissue and joint stress
- releases muscle tightness
- maintains body’s natural alignment
- improves blood flow and circulation
- improves flexibility/range of motion
- improves performance
- improves balance
- helps prevent injury
- easy to transport a foam roller and can be done anywhere
- can be performed by anyone
While one of the benefits above specifically notes that foam rolling can be done by anyone it is important to know how to foam roll or SMR properly and what not to do!
Some of the don’ts that are associated with foam rolling are:
- avoid holding your breathe (as it stops oxygen and blood flow to the muscles being targeted)
- avoid bad posture
- avoid being too aggressive
- avoid being too fast
- avoid not rolling regularly (do it daily and not just after workouts, do it before also)
- avoid not rolling all parts of the body that will benefit (often feet are missed out)
- avoid rolling on your bony joints: knees and elbows (adds unnecessary pressure)
- avoid rolling on your organs (too much pressure for organs)
It is recommended that you roll for about 40-60 seconds on each area of the body when foam rolling and for a total of about 15 minutes daily to fully take advantage of all the benefits to foam rolling. While pressure is good when foam rolling it is important to make sure you’re only putting as much pressure as you feel comfortable with. When foam rolling and you come across a knot or sensitive spot: spend a little longer on these area rolling back and forth until the discomfort eases.
If you’d like more information on foam rolling or to be shown how to foam roll come down to Spectrum fitness today, ask our friendly staff and we will be more than happy to assist you. Stay tuned for the next topic which is HIT training.