Myofascial Release done through foam rolling can be an effective and gentle mechanism to assist with decreasing pain as well as restoring range of motion. It has been seen to assist with increasing power, strength and agility to some extent. Myofascial release refers to the application of pressure on your fascia, which is a network full of dense connective tissue that runs through the body and wraps around your internal organs and muscles and can assist with holding these structures in place.
When your body is under stress it can unevenly distribute strain that ends up excessively loading one or more parts of the body that can cause injury. This can also limit your range of motion and cause compression of the muscle and nerve which can lead to a decrease in blood flow and nutrient uptake within that specific area.
Self-myofascial release or SMR which is suggested to assist with your recovery as well as your performance can commonly be referred to foam rolling. Foam rolling is becoming a very popular warm up and recovery modality, that has been overlooked in previous years.
With numerous studies showing benefits from the use of SMR or foam rolling, it has been associated with an increase in your flexibility as well as your performance to speed, power and agility. Inclusion of foam rolling, used within recovery sessions, has been shown to be associated with assist in increasing blood flow, assist with lymphatic drainage as well as decreasing muscle soreness, tenderness and stiffness together with increasing your pain tolerance. SMR with foam rolling has also been associated with the decrease in DOMS (Delayed onset of Muscle soreness).
DOMS, is characterized by variable amounts of muscle tenderness, stiffness, and pain that can fluctuate from slight muscle stiffness on palpation to severe debilitation of athletic performance (Nguyen D, Brown LE, Coburn JW, et al.)
A study, shows that using a 20 minute foam rolling session had a significant decrease in the effects of DOMS not only within 24 hours but up to 72 hours of training on the performance of sprinting, power and gym based exercises. This study shows that foam rolling can also assist with increasing the effectiveness of the training program and aiding in an increase in performance.
In the above mentioned study, we can see that a 20 minute foam rolling session may reduce the physical performance decrements and assist with faster recovery time together with assisting in the increase in flexibility and mobility.
We are not saying that you need to go out and purchase a foam roller, we are purely showing the benefits of using this type of recovery modality not only in your recovery sessions but also your warm up.
Different types of foam rolling equipment, however keep in mind, what you use should not be based on the newest trend and should accommodate your needs within training or recovery.
- Smooth surface foam roller
- Tennis balls
- Compact rumble rollers
- Foam roller balls
- TriggerPoint MB2 Roller
- Pro-Tec Athletics Orb Extreme
For your foam rolling session try these muscle areas:
- Hips, ITB
- Inner/ Outer thigh
- Calfs, and shins
- Lower & upper back
If you suffer from stiffness after training, or want to vary up your warm down routine, then you should get a foam roller and learn how to properly use it in order to optimise your workout. Stiffness and soreness following training, and injury, are all reasons why many of us find it difficult to train multiple days in a row; however, by employing the correct foam rolling techniques as mentioned above you will able to function better and will receive greater benefit from your training sessions when your muscles are repairing and growing.