Self-myofascial release, also commonly referred to as “foam rolling,” has converted from a once remote procedure done only by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists to a regular daily habit for people at all levels of fitness. Recent knowledge, technology, and affordable commodities have introduced an increasing array of training and recovery methods to the average person.

Self-myofascial release is a decorated term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This process can be achieved with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, Theracane, or even your own hands. By you applying pressure to specific points on your body, you can aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in restoring them to natural function. The standard feature means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

Do I Possess Tight Muscles or Trigger Points?

Trigger points are accurate “knots” that develop in muscles. They are unique and can be recognized because they will include pain. Pain referral, for our views, can most easily be defined as the pain felt when pressure is applied to one area of your body, but the pain is felt or transmitted in another area.

A typical example of a trigger point is considered while foam rolling your iliotibial (IT) band as it creates pain to spread up to the hip or all the way down the leg to the ankle. When rolling or working on tight/sore muscles, you will encounter distress or pain. Think of it like the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you are done, it should feel better.

Why Am I Doing Something That Hurts?

For many, deep tissue massage is simple to understand. Ideally, someone can fight out the tangles in your muscles, and it is understood that this method may be uncomfortable and at times unpleasant. The self-myofascial release gives the user the ability to manage the healing and recovery process by applying tension in specific locations because only you can feel literally what is occurring.

It is always advised to discuss with your physician or physical therapist for therapeutic/sharp pain and obtain consent before beginning self-myofascial release. For most people, you will be cleared almost immediately, and your doctor will encourage the practice.

Releasing trigger points helps to restore decent movement patterns and pain-free movement, and ultimately, to enhance performance. Utilizing stretching alone is not always enough to release your muscles tightness, which is why foam rollers have thrived on the mass market. Imagine a bungee cord with a knot tied into it and then envision stretching the wire. This creates tension, extending the unknotted portion of the muscle and the attachment points. The knot, however, has remained unaltered.

Foam rolling can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal of any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning as if nothing was ever wrong. When was the last time you trained like you were a teenager, going hard without a second thought, and injuries were something that only happened due to physical trauma like a 250lb linebacker hitting you?

What Causes Trigger Points and Tight Muscles?

Both have the same relevant factors including training, flexibility, movement patterns, posture, nutrition, hydration, rest, stress, and other lifestyle factors. Our bodies learn to compensate for what we throw at them every day, but we can exceed our ability to recover via too many intense workouts, poor posture, and other lifestyle factors.

This is when you require assistance using rehabilitation techniques or through seeing an expert. If you lived a perfect life with everything in balance, you would theoretically never have either of these conditions. However, I’ve yet to meet that person.

How Does Self-Myofascial Release Work?

Deep compression eases to break up or relax tight muscles and adhesions formed between muscle layers and their surroundings. Imagine you are tenderizing your muscles. They should be soft and supple like a baby’s muscles. Nonetheless, if our muscles are not taken care of correctly, we can experience loss of flexibility, adhesions, and painful movement.

The intense compression of self-myofascial release allows regular blood flow to restore and the preparation of healthy tissue. The body normally wants to be healthy and active, but sometimes an extra boost is needed to achieve optimal muscle and tissue health.

Aching muscles can last for days, so rush your healing by using a foam roller. These seven exercises from Shape-Up Shortcuts only take 10 to 15 minutes. Grab a foam roller—like the LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller—and do them after a workout, during your favorite sitcom, or right before bed. Roll over any point 5 to 10 times.

Calves
Foam rolling for your calves
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out, your palms on the ground behind you to bear your weight. Set the foam roller underneath your calves. Gently roll on the back of your legs up and down from your knees to your ankles.

Hamstrings
Foam roller for your hamstrings
Sit with your right leg on the foam roller; bend your left knee, cross your left ankle over your right ankle, and put your hands on the floor behind you. Roll up and down from your knee to just under your right butt cheek. Switch legs.

Quads
Foam roller for your quads
Lie facedown on the ground and put the foam roller underneath your hips. Lean on your right leg and roll up and down from your hip to your knee. Switch legs.

Back
Foam roller for your back
Sit on the floor with the foam roller on your lower back, leaning your hands behind you for stability. Tighten your abs and gradually bend your knees to move the roller up your back, just below your shoulder blades.

Outer Thighs
Foam roller for outer thighs
Lie on your side with the foam roller under your right hip. Supporting your abs and glutes for balance, slowly roll down from your hip to your knee. Turn to the reverse side and repeat.

Shoulders and Sides
Foam roller for shoulders and sides
Lie on your back with the foam roller behind your shoulders. Interlock your fingers loosely behind your head and lean your upper back into the foam roller. Brace your abs and glutes for balance, and slowly press into the roller on your left side, raising your right shoulder. Roll from your underarms to the base of your rib cage. Return to the center and switch sides.

Butt
Foam roller for butt
Sitting on the foam roller, cross your right leg over your left knee and lean toward the right hip, putting your weight on your hands for support Slowly roll one butt cheek over the roller. Switch sides.