Self-myofascial release (SMFR) sounds a lot more complicated than it is. Myo is the prefix meaning muscle. Fascia is the tissue which surrounds your muscles. Repeated muscular contraction can cause you to develop adhesions or spots of muscle tension. You will be releasing the tension of your muscles by your self.
Self-myofascial release is basically a form of massage you are able to perform on yourself. You can get myo-fascial release from a massage therapist (approx. $80/hour or/and you can do this economical version yourself). The best way to perform self-myofascial release is with a foam roller, a massage ball, medicine ball or even a tennis ball.
Place the tight body part on the foam roller. The most important thing to remember is to always relax the muscle which you are applying pressure to. Apply pressure to the entire length of the muscle with the foam roller. Even though it is just a piece of foam, as you move up and down the muscle you will notice some tender, or 'hot' spots that hurt more intensely than others. The muscles have hypertonicity which basically equates to increased tension. Apply pressure to the most tender spots for 20-30 seconds each while breathing and trying to relax as much as possible.
Self-myofascial release is not for everyone. You may feel like it does nothing for you. If that is you, make sure you're doing it 100% correctly before you abandon it. Each progressive time you SMFR a muscle, you will notice less tension and the tender spots will go away over time. It takes longer for some muscles than others due to unique differences and challenge areas.
You can perform SMFR before or after a workout. You should focus your SMFR on the muscles which are the root of your muscle imbalances and posture problems. Strive to perform each session on the foam roller before your static stretching.
Did you know that the foam roller can also be used as a challenging training tool?
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