Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is an active therapeutic modality involving manual massaging of the fascia encasing your muscles with a foam roller, stick, or other apparatus. Imagine your muscles are enclosed by tight weave of strings. Daily activity and training stretch and stress these strings. Imbalances and asymmetries in our biomechanical patterns result in compensations. These compensations put undue stress on some areas of our body resulting in adhesions and scar tissue along the fascia. These adhesions are commonly referred to as trigger points or hot spots. They are like knots in a string that can be tender to the touch. Left alone these trigger points may cause further dysfunction and compensation. Trigger points compromise the length and function of muscles, which lead to compensation and over use of other areas, resulting in injury. Foam rolling, although not new, is getting increased attention in the athletic and fitness realm. Use it as a compliment to your dynamic warm up routine and stretching cool down. While stretching involves the passive lengthening of a muscle, foam rolling further aides this process by kneading out adhesions and scar tissue along that length, creating great mobility.
Still not convinced? Check out "Feel better for 10 bucks: Self Myofascial Release: No Doctor Required by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson at TMuscle. Great detailed explanations. My photos are better though :)
Please refer to my demo page for foam rolling examples and explanations.
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