Understanding the Tissue in Your Body
Before getting into what self myofascial release is, you need some understanding of how the muscles, and connective tissue work together.
Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue fibres under the skin that attach to muscles to stabilize and separate them from other internal organs. The fascia can become stressed from repetitive movements, inflammation, or injuries causing acute strains and sprains. This poor condition of the fascia can lead to the formation of adhesions, commonly known as trigger points.
Trigger points can be felt as a knot in the muscle, and can refer tightness and or pain throughout connecting areas of the body. This abnormal state of fascia in the form of knots can lead to muscle imbalances, incorrect posture, and can cause reduced blood-flow to the surrounding tissues and muscles; preventing recovery.
Self Myofascial Release Benefits
The goal of self myofascial release (or SMR) is to relieve the tension caused by these trigger points. In return, self myofascial release benefits include:
- Improved Range of Motion – SMR works to restore proper range of motion by repairing the weak and tight fascia causing the trigger point.
- Improved Oxygenation of Surrounding Muscles and Tissues – More blood flow to the adjacent areas means quicker recovery time and more efficient neuromuscular function.
- Reduced Pain and Tightness – Going through your day, you might notice tight points in your legs, buttocks, and areas of your back and neck. Performing SMR on these points can help to reduce pain and tightness.
How to Perform Self Myofascial Release
To relieve the tension caused by these trigger points or knots, various devices such as foam rollers and different sized balls are used. This video below by Arena Fitness describes some of the basics of self myofascial release.
Essentially you are using these different shaped devices to put pressure on and stimulate trigger points and knots. The fascia adhesions can be broken down, restoring mobility and reducing any pain and tightness you may have been experiencing in the area. Try using a foam roller for self myofascial release benefits, and experiment with different exercises to see which areas you need to work on. Foam rolling can also help you recover from nagging injuries that reduce mobility.
Check out our wide variety of foam rolling tutorials to get you started. Figure out where your problem areas are (hips, shoulders, back etc.) Work towards building a foam rolling routine to improve and repair muscular health.
- Foam Roller Exercises
- How to Use a Foam Roller for the Piriformis Muscle
- Foam Roller Hip Flexor Exercises
- Resistance Band Exercises
- Fitness Guides