Self-myofascial release (SMR, also called foam rolling) is a fancy term for self-massage. “Fascia” is connective tissue that stabilizes your muscles. By massaging it, you increase your muscles’ range of motion, boost blood circulation, break down tightness or knots in your muscles and bolster muscle tissue integrity. (Foam Rolling Effect)
Trigger Points vs Tight Muscles
Briefly speaking, a trigger point is pain that radiates beyond the muscle when you apply pressure to it. In contrast, the pain you get while stretching is uncomfortable, but not unbearable. In both cases, when you are done, the discomfort is lessened.
Why Am I Doing Something That Hurts?
When you only stretch, you don’t always release muscle tightness. As an illustration, imagine a bungee cord with a knot tied into it. Significantly, when you stretch the unknotted portion, it lengthens, but the knot doesn’t disappear. In fact, you still have to untie the knot
So, foam rolling — combined with old-school static stretching, increases the range of motion in your hip.
2 Times to Foam Roll
Before a workout to knock out stress hormone levels (cortisol). In essence, it improves circulation and pain tolerance.
Foam roll after a workout to speed up the start of soreness from the exertion.
3 Steps to Foam Rolling
Apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight.
Then, roll slowly along the area; no more than one inch at a time.
When you find an area that is tight or painful, pause and hold on that area for 30-60 seconds.
These steps will release muscle knots and lessen your discomfort or pain. (How Foam Roll)
The goal is to restore your muscles. But, foam rolling doesn’t have to be a pain tolerance test. In fact, rolling at 50%, 70%, and 90% of your pain threshold shows similar results. (Results)
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