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Self Myofascial Release: The Benefits of Foam Rolling

Alex Weight Lifting

Self Myofascial Release (MFR)

Sounds sordid doesn't it? Stop glaring at others foam rolling their muscles at the gym. You could be missing out on one of the best tools at the gym for recovery and injury prevention.

Foam rolling is a great form of self myofascial release. It is utilised by a wide audience ranging from elite athletes and bodybuilders to injury rehab specialists, due to the immediate impact it can have on performance and health.

What Is Myofascial Release?

Self myofascial release is often compared to a sports massage as myofascial release is a typical hands-on technique that therapists use. Pressure is applied with a directional force across layers of soft-tissue in the body. After applying pressure, the body will slowly start to release the tissue and mobility will increase between the sliding surfaces of tissue.

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

As well as improving mobility, myofascial release will increase blood flow around the body and lead to more efficient movement. This will help to reduce the occurrence of injuries and decrease recovery time after a workout… no more DOMS!!

Foam Rolling Exercises

The best way to foam roll is to follow a set routine. On legs day start with the calves then move up to the quads. Remember to target all of the quads and not just one area. Next, get deeper into the hamstrings - a massage ball may be even more effective than a foam roller. If there is particular area of your body that feels extra tight then add extra focus on that muscle.

To foam roll correctly, apply moderate pressure using the roller and your bodyweight on the muscle and roll slowly. When you find areas that are painful, pause on that area for several seconds. You will slowly start to feel the muscle release - aka myofascial release - and after 10-20 seconds the discomfort should ease.

Foam Rolling For Runners

The iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue that spans the outside of your upper leg. Foam Rolling this section of fascia is particularly beneficial on squats day, as well as for runners.

As you are rolling you will feel moderate pain up towards the hip and also down towards the lower leg. This is normal and a similar sensation is felt whilst rolling other body parts. Remember, it should be uncomfortable, but not to the point of agony.  

When Should I Foam Roll?

In a perfect world, self myofascial release will form part of your pre-workout with a dynamic warm up plus post workout as part of a cool down routine.

Foam rolling during a warm up will get the blood flowing to the muscles that you are about to train and will help reduce tension in the muscles.

Post workout, foam rolling helps to flush any blood pooled in the trained muscles. This allows fresh oxygen and nutrients into the tissue to help aid muscle recovery. Remember the quicker you recover, the quicker you can get back in the gym.

Foam rolling is essential to increase mobility and reduce the risk of injury along with helping recovery between workouts. Our virtual personal training subscription will equip you with useful knowledge like myofascial release. Join today for affordable expert advice.

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