Let me start by saying that I find fascia fascinating (say that 10 times fast). I probably find it more fascinating than most people. Wondering what fascia is? If so, start here.
Healthy fascia plays a vital role in our overall health. One of the many things we can do to keep our fascial healthy and pliable is to practice self myofascial release.
There's a vast body of research on the benefits of self myofascial release. A recent study in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that self myofascial release:
Increases mobility and joint range of motion without affecting muscle performance
Reduces post-workout soreness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
Allows for greater workout performance in future workouts
Let me back up real quick and remind you that if you’re dealing with a serious injury, there is no replacement for a good personal trainer, physical therapist or chiropractor. However, most of us possess enough self-awareness to practice of self-myofascial release on our own.
Many people think that foam rolling is only done with the traditional foam roller, but there is a growing number of tools on the market that can be used for self myofascial release, and that's a good thing! I really like to try out new tools to see what works. In fact, I can't believe I did this but I actually just picked up the fascia blaster to see what its all about.
The different tools out there are available for different needs, body parts and your level of pain tolerance (did I mention that self myofascial release can hurt?). Which tools are better I believe that to be a personal preference. So I will share a few good tools to keep in your SMR Toolkit
Self Myofascial Release Toolbox
TRIGGER POINT Grid or Traditional Foam Roller
The traditional high density foam roller is a good place to start. It's less aggressive than the "knobby rollers" so it's more comfortable while you're learning. You might get used to the softer roller and want to upgrade. I personally use the GRID foam roller from TriggerPoint. I’ve been using this foam roller for years and I love it.
The massage Stick or a rolling pin
There are a few muscle groups, like the calves, that I prefer to use a stick tool or rolling pin. I actually prefer the rolling pin. You can add more pressure than with a traditional roller. This is really easy to transport and use before or after a race as well.
Trigger Point Balls or lacrosse ball
There are so many trigger point balls out there. You can't go wrong with many of them. I use the Orb for my glutes and the Rubz on the bottom of the feet. The most versatile ball though is a simple lacrosse ball. I have my clients use the lacrosse ball all the time too - it's inexpensive and the perfect density.
Creating a toolbox with a variety of foam rollers, massage sticks, and trigger point balls means you will always have all the right tools for your self myofascial release needs.
If you need further instruction on self myofascial release, contact me to set up a video conference training session where I can teach you SMR using the tools in your home.