Nothing feels better than a hard workout—except for a comfortable recovery. We’ll admit to going super hard in the gym (and paying for it tenfold the next morning). No, you aren’t glued to the bed...you probably just can’t move. Although it sounds almost too good to be true, a simple piece of foam can performed near miracles when incorporated into your fitness routine. Read on to learn more about how this technique can hurt so good.
Is there a difference between Self-Myofascial Release and foam rolling?
“Self-Myofascial Release (or SMR) is simply smart people talk for foam rolling,” explains YG Studios Trainer, Jeff Hunter, CPT and Everlast Ambassador. “These techniques have been used by massage therapist for ages. Pressure on the muscle stimulates the muscle’s neural receptors, specifically the golgi tendon organ, which forces the muscle to relax, thus creating more blood flow and improved range of motion.”
What contributes to tight muscles?
“A knot is a small localized muscle spasm,” explains Daily Burn 365 trainer, Gregg Cook. “A tense muscle has more to do with the entire muscle not being in a natural relaxed state.With repetitive movements and overuse, plus to much sitting etc. the muscles develop trigger points, often called ‘knots’ and adhesions.”
“Trigger points are like very localized muscle spasms that because of their density in that spot feel like a knot,” continues Cook. “Adhesions are where the surface of the connective tissues around the muscle, fascia, sticks together. Both can cause pain and be restrictive in regards to move movement.”
What does SMR do?
“Foam rolling helps improve flexibility, restore joint function, and reduces muscle soreness,” says Hunter. “All of these things will aid in injury reduction and help you move better which in return will help you attain a more effective and enjoyable workout.”
How often should I try this?
“The more intense and overall demanding the workout or sport the more important preparation and recovery become,” explains Cook. “SMR is instrumental in both movement prep and recovery. I would recommend getting into a longer more involved session 15-20min post workout. However [personally] I have been doing a quick 5-10 min session of a more broad stroked approach before daily training.”
Am I doing this right?
“When you foam roll the aim is to make slow pressure waves through the muscle,” continues Hunter. “A common mistake people make is simply rolling back and forth with no hold or sustained pressure in a particular area.”
Should I enroll in a class?
“It is always worth it to take advantage of an experts guidance to become proficient at something new,” says Cooks. “A class or trainer can teach you the ins and outs of SMR is feasible. Self myofascial release is essentially self massage using some sort of roller to relieve this points—it also increases circulation and helps rehydrate tissue.”
Will it hurt?
“It's going to hurt! Don't be alarmed if it's a little uncomfortable in certain areas, that's actually a sign that there's some tension in that area that needs to be addressed,” Hunter shares. “Foam rolling is cool but it shouldn't never take the place of deep tissue massages—I mean come on, who doesn't love a good 90-minute professional massage?”