Do you deal with constant pain & aches and wish there was a simple way for you to relieve the? Of maybe you’re looking for an easy way to prevent injury that isn’t going to take a lot of time or money. Self Myofascial Release or self massage.
SMR(Self Myofascial Release) is so important and should be a staple of your recovery routine, both warm-up and cool down. Pre-workout it has been shown to increase total body circulation and flexibility. Post-workout, self myofascial release helps to flush metabolic waste and reduce recovery time. SMR is done by using our own bodyweight as a tool to apply pressure to the desired areas by using Trigger Point tools.
I Stretch Everyday, Do I Need Really Need To Trigger Point to Prevent Injury?
While stretching is also very important, it is not accomplishing everything that your body needs for a proper recovery. When you perform a static stretch, you are creating length in your muscle fibers. While this has plenty of benefits of its own, static stretching does not in any way affect the tissue surrounding and weaving through your muscle fibers. Thus, this tissue will continue to become tighter and tighter. Causing a negative impact on your recovery, performance, and worst case scenario, lead to injury.
What is Self Myofascial Release & How does it work?
When compression is applied, blood in the area will become briefly constricted. Once the pressure is removed by the roller, new nutrient rich blood will rush to the area and enhance the healing process. Essentially, this self massage is manipulating your tissue in a way stretching does not. And unless you’re someone who has the time/money for a daily massage, SMR is a necessity for you.
Foam rolling is probably the most recognizable form of SMR. You’ve probably seen that person rolling around on the warm up mat and wondering what the point is. Other tools you can use are lacrosse balls, rolling pin, and even a HyperVolt (my personal favorite). These all provide the same benefits, just in a more aggressive manner for those more stubborn areas such as T-spine, piriformis, psoas, etc.
Self Myofascial Release for Specific Performance
While performing a self massage is fantastic for your recovery, it can also increase your performance! In fact, in most cases SMR is more ideal to do prior to your dynamic warm-up than static stretching. This is because you receive those benefits of increased blood flow to prepare the muscle for your workout, without lengthening and weakening your muscle fibers, which can actually affect your strength and/or explosiveness.
Here’s a few examples of how to apply SMR to your movement prep on specific days.
Bench Press Day: Foam rolling all muscle groups surrounding shoulder joint(lats, pecs, T-Spine). Specifically, using a lacrosse ball to triggerpoint your pecs is ideal as well to provide a deeper release to the prime mover of the exercise.
Deadlift Day: Foam rolling hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves. Triggerpoint piriformis with lacrosse ball. Deadlifting is a hip dominant movement, so releasing these surrounding muscles will greatly aide you in keeping the movement feeling clean in your hips. Additionally, releasing your calves will help improve your ankle mobility, which is an often overlooked aspect of the deadlift. This will make it easier for you to get into your setup without compromising stability in your lumbar or hips, which lower your risk of injury greatly and increase your strength.
Factors to Consider Before Performing Trigger Point Techniques
Now of course just like anything in fitness, there are exceptions to the rule. If you have any of the following conditions, you will want to get permission from your health care professional before applying SMR: Osteoporosis, Diabetes, High blood pressure, Varicose veins, Pregnancy, and any other time you are unsure of your condition. Outside of these medical conditions, another thing that can happen during SMR is guarding. Guarding is when your body is perceiving the SMR as a threat, typically an area that has experienced injury, and overprotects itself. In the process, this can cause a setback or even further injury that previously experienced.
Below is a list of my favorite trigger point tools. I’ve also attached a video of Cassie guiding you through one of many methods of self trigger point therapy.
Trigger Point Peanut – This is what we consider the most useful trigger point item & our clients’ favorite
Footballer – If you wear heel to work or you’re on your feet all day I would recommend this item
Grid Roller – Much more solid than a foam roller meaning more efficient SMR
TriggerPoint Basic Kit – Includes peanut, footballer & yoga block
TriggerPoint Complete Kit + Guide – Includes peanut, footballer, quadballer, yoga block and guide (This is the kit both Cassie & I have)
HyperVolt – Our magic tool. This is certainly a more expensive tool but if you’re aiming for variety, time efficiency & a deeper release this is well worth the money.
The HyperVolt is what we both personally have and the brand most fitness professionals trust however there are a couple of cheaper alternatives out there. The Pheonix & The Muscle Massage Gun. We can’t attest to the quality or effect and we are not claiming to support these 2 products. This is simply to let you know that they also exist.
“I learned working with the negatives can make for better pictures” – Drake
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