Ever get sore, tight or achy after a workout, competition or a hard day’s work? There are many contributing factors that lead to the tightness in your muscles, including: training, flexibility, movement patterns, posture, nutrition, hydration, rest and stress. As we go about our daily lives, our body adapts to the physical demands that we endure with our jobs and home life; however, when we physically stimulate our body with a higher demand than normal (e.g. weight training), we exceed our bodies ability to naturally recover, causing tightness and occasionally if not dealt with correctly, leading to injuries. In recent years, studies have found Myofascial release (massage) to be a key strategy to aid recovery to normal function, in addition to stretching and active recovery. Deep compression helps to relax tight muscles and adhesions between muscle layers, allowing an increase of blood to flow through the muscles. The increased blood flow enables the muscle to extract nutrients and deposit waste, which is essential to recovery and growth.
The good news is that you don’t have to fork out $50+ every time you want a massage or to release the tension or stress. With the use of a foam roller and/or a trigger point ball, you can “DIY” with self-myofascial release techniques! The rolling action on the foam roller helps relax knots (or trigger points) and relieve pressure points from muscle tissue. The foam roller has a similar effect to a remedial massage; however, you are able to isolate target areas, control speed and pressure, and stiffness of the foam. If you roll regularly, you can minimise/eliminate the risk of most common muscle pulls, strains and tears, such as ITB syndrome very commonly found in runners. Foam rollers can also be used for core stability and strength exercises, re-training motor patterns or aiding in correcting postural issues. Keep in mind, when you’re rolling out you’re going to feel some sort of discomfort; however, this feeling should not be unbearable, and once completed should reduce your prior discomfort!
Before commencing self-myofascial release on a roller or use of a trigger point ball, it is recommended you consult with your Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist for extra information and some guidance on ‘how to roll’ correctly to ensure you get the most out of it. Just ask the team members at Absolute Balance for more information or appropriate foam roller exercises for you!
Dane Stephen (B.Sc. Exercise and Health, GradDip. Exercise Physiology)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AES, AEP) (ESSAM) Exercise Consultant