There is no doubt that an incredibly effective way to improve musculoskeletal health is myofascial release or as it is more commonly known, foam rolling. It may generate a number of changes including; reducing pain, improving flexibility and consequently increasing performance. It is easy to understand why it is a common recommendation from many health practitioners.
One of the underlying reasons why foam rolling is often avoided is because it is very painful to do. This is true. Myofascial release can be very uncomfortable. So do we just put on our pain face, grit our teeth and get on with the job? Nope. And this is why you shouldn't.
So do we just put on our pain face, grit our teeth and get on with the job?
If you are doing myofascial release and you are in significant pain, you will often tense your muscles. By doing so, you are bracing against the pain and making the exercise pointless. When there is excessive pain we lose control of our breathing and begin to pant. We start sweating, we wince, moan and tense our muscles to brace against the pain. This is stimulating of our sympathetic nervous system known as our fight or flight response. Once triggered, it is difficult to relax when so much adrenaline is pumping around your body.
The correct amount of pressure is uncomfortable but tolerable. The goal should be to increase the pressure as you progress through the exercise. You should always be able to take deep breaths and relax onto the ball or foam roller.
The correct amount of pressure is uncomfortable but tolerable.
The role of myofascial release is to improve our soft tissue (muscles) movement. This occurs by de-activating the trigger points (knots) in muscles and by improving the ability of our muscles slide and glide past each other.
I have an array of different tools that I use for my own personal myofascial release therapy including; cricket balls, soft balls, golf balls, Alpha balls and soccer balls. On any given day I will be able to tolerate a different level of intensity. Your muscles will be able to tolerate different levels of pressure depending your current training load, hydration, frequency of myofascial release, and even your emotional state and stress levels.
You can purchase some of these tools online from our shop here.
Drop in today and have a chat about how to make your personal conditioning regime effective.
B.Hth Sc (Pod), Hons