Self Myofascial Release (SMR)-What-When-How-Why
If you are big into training (strength/cardiovascular) or just a weekend warrior, hopefully you have used or at least heard of a foam roller… Maybe you use it on a daily basis. If not, don’t worry because in this article, I will deep dive into the general benefits of self myofascial release and how it can help you with your overall performance/goals.
Post foam rolling and lacrosse ball use (**results may vary**)
Myofascial release is a very effective technique that involves applying pressure on a specific body part that has a tissue restriction in order to decrease pain and restore motion. Furthermore, the individual does this themselves, thus called “SELF” myofascial release. Various tools can be used to conduct myofascial release such as a foam roller, lacrosse ball, peanut, and many others.
Beginners should start off by using a foam roller and one that is less firm.* This way you can assess comfort level and if you need more pressure then use a foam roller that’s more firm. When using a foam roller, you should feel comfortable and able to breathe calmly (no hyperventilating, please). Ideally you want to spend 30-60 seconds on a particular part of the body that you want to work on and then move on. Just a side note, if you have to spend 20-30 minutes foam rolling prior to your lifts, maybe you should be spending more time at home performing SMR exercises or get massages on a regular basis…Just a thought.
Me foam rolling my glutes
Myofascial release is primarily performed at the beginning of a strength training session, but can also be used during and at the end of a training session. As Eric Cressey has stated multiple times, using a foam roller is like a poor man’s version of a massage. By no means is it the best, but it’s certainly better than doing nothing and it’s much cheaper than receiving a massage every week (I have nothing against getting massages).
I prefer to use a foam roller and a lacrosse ball prior to my heavy strength training days and I only spend about five to ten minutes on it. After my training session, I find myself using a myofascial release tool to work on any specific areas. Maybe it’s just me, but I strongly believe that by doing this not only prior to training, but after it has some effect on recovery. How much you ask..? I’m not entirely sure, but I personally feel better after using these tools and I’m happy afterwards.
So just to recap:
What– Self myofascial release is a very effective technique that involves the individual applying pressure on a specific body part that has a tissue restriction.
When– SMR is primarily performed at the beginning of a training session prior to a dynamic warmup. However, it can also be done during and after a training session as well.
Why–To decrease soreness/pain and restore motion
*Please consult with a fitness professional prior to using a myofascial release tool if you are unfamiliar with it.