As an endurance athlete, you often train in the same plane of motion. That stress and tension you might feel in your muscles, tendons and ligaments result from those repetitive movements and over time can create muscle imbalances and even potential overuse injuries.

What to do? Self-myofascial release (SMR) has been around for more than 20 years, and involves combining your own body weight with force and tools (such as a foam roller or tennis ball) to decrease tenderness and unravel those knots in the muscles. It can also improve posture, correct and/or eliminate muscle imbalance, improve performance, decrease muscle soreness and risk of injury, improve flexibility and range of motion, and relieve joint stress.

Foam-Rolling-Diagram-Learn the Techniques

The What & When

  • SMR techniques combine your body weight and/or force with various tools such as foam rollers, tennis balls, soft balls, thumb pressure or pressure knobs to help decrease tenderness in your body’s soft tissues. Slow, rhythmical movements compress and lift the soft tissues, aiding in the breakdown of tissue “knots.”
  • Perform SMR prior to training for better range of motion, increased blood flow and an overall better workout.
  • You can also perform SMR after training sessions and on off days to help decrease muscle soreness.

The How

  • Engage your core – this will maintain stability of your spine.
  • Increase or decrease the amount of tension by engaging your arms or legs to bear some of your body weight.
  • Keep the rolling movement slow.
  • Relax and avoid tightening up the muscles you are working on.
  • Pause your rolling action over painful areas until you feel a “release” or the pain subsides (about 30 to 90 seconds, depending on your pain tolerance).
  • If you find SMR painful, remember that the more you roll, the less painful it will be.

The Tools

  • Foam Roller (foam/plastic)
  • Medicine ball
  • Trigger Point The Grid or Quad Baller
  • Handheld roller (The Stick or AddaDay Roller)
  • Tennis, golf or lacrosse ball