Posts Tagged ‘smr’

by Mike Reinold (web)

Self myofascial release tools, such as foam rollers, trigger point balls, and massage sticks, have become some of the most popular tools used for corrective exercises, fitness, and sports performance.  In fact, performing self myofascial release has become almost a uniform component in the majority of fitness and sports performance programs.

You can certainly argue the exact physiological benefit of performing self myofascial release.  Ironically we are likely not really “releasing” fascia.

However, it’s hard to argue the benefits of self myofascial release.

Two recent studies in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy have been published that analyzed the current state of research and conclude that self myofascial release:

  • Increases mobility and joint range of motion
  • Reduces post-workout soreness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Allows for greater workout performance in future workouts
  • May lead to improved vascular function and parasympathetic nervous system function

“Simply put, self myofascial release has been proven to help you feel and move better.”

In order to get started, I wanted to share my years of experience with self myofascial release tools.  There are so many foam rollers, trigger point tools, and massage sticks out there these days.
I’ve tried nearly all of them and these are what I consider the best self myofascial release tools.

Best Self Myofascial Release Tools

Over the years I have tried a ridiculous amount of different self myofascial release tools, some great, some awful, and some just a rip off.  Luckily, new products emerge all the time and continue to improve.

I’ve learned a couple of things that are important:

  • There are different types of self myofascial release tools for different needs, body parts, and intensities.  Building your own “kit” is probably going to be the most effective.  Trying to use just a foam roller on everything is going to not work well.
  • You tend to build up a tolerance to self myofascial release and want to upgrade to more advanced foam rollers, trigger point balls, and massage sticks.  Start with the basics and advance overtime.

Best Foam Rollers

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller

The first place to is a basic high density foam roller.  This could be the cheapest and most versatile tool you get.  Amazon has started to make their own version, which is a great price.  You’ll find various sizes.  I’ve never personally gotten much use of the large 36-inch versions and tend to favor the 18-inch version.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Rollerself myofascial release - grid foam roller

The basic high density foam roller is a great place to start to get used to foam rolling, but quickly gets pretty easy.  You’ll want to upgrade to a more firm foam roller in increase the intensity.  My preferred choice is the GRID foam roller from TriggerPoint.  I’ve been using this foam roller for years with continued success.  It has a rigid hollow core that increases the intensity very well.  This is worth the extra investment as it will likely be your main foam roller for some time.

(If you want to go for a cheaper version that can give you the same result check these GRID foam rollers out:
My personal favourite is THIS one. It is a very tough foam roller and gives you a very nice massage. )

 

Mobilitas Mobility Sphere
self myofascial release - mobility sphere foam roller

Somewhere between a foam roller and a trigger point ball, I actually really like using 5” mobility balls.  Because of the round shape, the contact area is smaller so the amount of force to the area is larger.  Plus, you can use into in multiple planes of motion because it is a ball instead of a roller.  This is something I personally use.  You can get into smaller areas, like your chest, but I use this just as much as a standard foam roller.  There are a few but the one I (Mike Reinold) use and recommend is the Mobilitas Mobility Sphere.

(For another very good mobility ball just CLICK HERE)

Acumobility Eclipse Foam Rollerself myofascial release - acumobility foam roller

I was recently turned onto the Eclipse Foam Roller from Acumobility and have been impressed.  I was intrigued by the design and wanted to try it myself.  I’m not a big fan of foam rollers with ridges, as I just feel they don’t do much and concept is more of a marketing gimmick.  But Acumobility has a made a great advanced foam roller that includes a firm middle section that can encompass a body part really well.  It’s a really unique design and a great tool for advanced foam rolling.

Best Massage Roller Stick

While foam rollers are the primary self myofascial release tool for most needs, there are body parts that simply don’t do as well and need a massage stick tool.  The next tool you should add to your self myofascial release tool kit is a massager stick roller.  There are a few popular massage sticks on the market, and as it is with most things, I actually don’t prefer the two most popular massage sticks.

TheraBand Roller Massager+self myofascial release - theraband massage stick roller

The original massage stick began with plastic pieces and did a fairly well job, but newer tools have used a more grippy surface that I feel is far more effective. A plastic roller is just placing pressure downward on the tissue, where the grip on the TheraBand Roller Massager+ seems to also create a tissue traction with the friction produced.  This is a great product for areas like the forearms and feet, but also areas where you want to apply more pressure than what you can with just body weight, like the quads, hamstrings, and calves.  Plus, this has been the massage roller featured in many of the research reports.

(I can recommend another three massage sticks to choose from.)

Best Trigger Point Release Tools

In addition to foam rollers and massage sticks.  Trigger point release tools are another must have addition to your self myofascial release tool kit.  Essentially, these just tend to be smaller self myofascial release tools that can get into tighter areas.

Lacrosse Ballself myofascial release - lacrosse ball trigger point tool

Yup, that’s it, just a lacrosse ball.  People have tried to make better versions of trigger point balls, but nothing beats the affordable lacrosse ball.  Great material, density, and durability.  This is a great place to start.  Get a couple so you can use two at once one places like your spine.

Acumobility Mobility Ballself myofascial release - acumobility ball trigger point tool

Acumobility, the maker of the Eclipse Roller above, has another great tool, their Mobility Ball.  This is made from a great dense material, but has a flat bottom that allows you to keep this in one spot on the floor or even against the wall.  This really helps to provide firm pressure while performing movements of the muscle group.  This is a great upgrade from the lacrosse ball.

Trigger Point Wandself myofascial release - trigger point wand

Sometimes an area is hard to reach, such as your neck or back.  That’s where sometimes a trigger point wand comes in handy.  I would definitely consider this a speciality tool, however a very popular choice.

Foot Rubz Massage Ballself myofascial release - foot rubz massage ball

Another speciality tool, but something that I wanted to include as I really love, is the hand and foot massage ball from Foot Rubz.  This is a smaller trigger point ball perfect for the hands and feet.  You can use a lacrosse ball or even the TheraBand Massage Roller above for these areas, but I feel this is slightly better and worth it for many.  (I’m literally using one as I type this haha…)

Antes del calentamiento podría usarse para obtener máximos beneficios en los entrenamientos

La preparación para el entrenamiento debe idealmente comprender estos elementos; la autoliberación miofascial y muscular; la inhibición de la musculatura hiperativa; la activación de la musculatura que será trabajada y la que será golpeada; y el calentamiento (elevación de la temperatura corporal), usualmente, en al hacer pesas se inicia con el calentamiento, y lo que deberíamos hacer es empezar por preparar los músculos para empezar con un plan de entrenamiento, prehabilitando a los grupos musculares y previniendo cualquier inconveniente o posibles problemas.

Sabemos que el mantenimiento de tejidos blandos (músculos, tendones, ligamentos y fascia) y largura de calidad es esencial para una mejor circulación y desempeño y si hubiera una disfunción (cicatrices, adherencias, etc) en cualquier parte de la cadena cinética, los demás sistemas serán obligados a compensar.

Con esta sobrecarga la compensación que no debería ocurrir puede llevar a lesiones y sobrecarga de los tejidos y yna manera de reducir o remover al disfunción de estos tejidos blandos es con el masaje.

El común de las personas no pueden pagar o no tienen tiempo para ir al consultorio de un terapeuta que hace masajes con una base regular, así que se podría usar el rodillo para pilates y yoga o mejor aún. el foam roller que muy usado en el pilates y en el yoga, sin embargo a veces no utilizado con este objetivo; ahora puntualizaremos como podemos aplicar el uso del foam roller en la liberación miofascial.

Que es el foam roller

  • El foam roller no es nada más que un rodillo de espuma compuesto de un tubo cilíndrico hecho de espuma densa donde se pueden rodar los músculos.
  • Pasando sobre el rodillo de espuma se proporcionará un efecto de masaje en las partes blandas de nuestro cuerpo de punta a punta trabajando los tejidos con calidad y proveyendo capacidad de expansión.
  • Se puede realizar en cualquier lugar y se puede ajustar la tensión sobre los músculos y otros tejidos blandos colocando más peso sobre el foam roller con el peso corporal.
  • Una opción es usa también una pelota de ténis o balón de lacrosse.

Autoliberación miofascial

El foam roller aumenta la tensión muscular y provoca una respuesta en el GTO (mechón receptor sensibles los cambios en la tensión muscular, encontrado en la junta músculo-tendón)

  • Provocan una relajación en el músculo y ésta permite una mayor amplitud de movimiento (extensibilidad) y liberación de la tensión muscular.
  • Los rodillos también ayudan en la eliminación de nódulos.
  • Puede proveer una mejor recuperación y disminuir el efecto de DOMS (dolor muscular tardío).

Estiramientos con Foam Roller

Los músculos y otros tejidos con nódulos o adhesiones, tienen tres impactos posibles:

  • Lesiones agudas (traumas, distensiones, etc..).
  • Acumulación de pequeños traumas (micro-traumas).
  • No reciben oxígeno suficiente (hipoxia).

Cada uno de esos factores puede llevar su organismo a producir una profunda cicatriz en el área afectada y este tejido cicatricial se conecta a tejidos que necesitan tener movimientos libres.

  • Como el tejido cicatricial aumenta, los músculos se hacen más cortos y más débiles.
  • La tensión en los tendones pueden causar tendinitis.
  • Los nervios pueden quedarse “enredados” y pueden causar una reducción en la amplitud de movimiento, pérdida de fuerza y dolor; si un nervio está “enredado” también puede sentir hormigueo, entumecimiento, y flacidez.

by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson

  Ten bucks doesn’t buy much nowadays. You could pick up a day pass at some commercial gym, or pull off the co-pay on a visit to the chiropractor. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to swing a mediocre Russian mail order bride.

Or, you could just go the safe route with your $10, take our advice, and receive a lifetime of relief from the annoying tightness so many athletes and weekend warriors feel from incessantly beating on their bodies. Don’t worry, this isn’t an infomercial. We just want you to pick up a foam roller for self-myofascial release and deep tissue massage.


How does it work?

Self-myofascial release (SMR) on a foam roller is possible thanks to the principle known as autogenic inhibition. You’ve likely heard of the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) at some point in your training career. The GTO is a mechanoreceptor found at the muscle-tendon junction; it’s highly sensitive to changes in tension in the muscle.

When tension increases to the point of high risk of injury (i.e. tendon rupture), the GTO stimulates muscle spindles to relax the muscle in question. This reflex relaxation is autogenic inhibition. The GTO isn’t only useful in protecting us from injuries, but it also plays a role in making proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques highly effective.

The muscle contraction that precedes the passive stretch stimulates the GTO, which in turn causes relaxation that facilitates this passive stretch and allows for greater range of motion. With foam rolling, you can simulate this muscle tension, thus causing the GTO to relax the muscle. Essentially, you get many of the benefits of stretching and then some.

It’s also fairly well accepted that muscles need to not only be strong, but pliable as well. Regardless of whether you’re a bodybuilder, strength athlete, or ordinary weekend warrior, it’s important to have strength and optimal function through a full range of motion. While stretching will improve the length of the muscle, SMR and massage work to adjust the tone of the muscle. Performing one while ignoring the other is like reading T-Nation but never actually lifting weights to put the info to good use.


What’s SMR good for?

Traditional stretching techniques simply cause transient increases in muscle length (assuming that we don’t exceed the “point of no return” on the stress-strain curve, which will lead to unwanted deformities). SMR on the foam roller, on the other hand, offers these benefits and breakdown of soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue.

One mustn’t look any further than the overwhelmingly positive results numerous individuals have had with Active Release Techniques (ART) to recognize the value of eliminating adhesions and scar tissue. Unfortunately, from both a financial and convenience standpoint, we can’t all expect to get ART done on a frequent basis.

SMR on the foam roller offers an effective, inexpensive, and convenient way to both reduce adhesion and scar tissue accumulation and eliminate what’s already present on a daily basis. Just note that like stretching, foam rolling doesn’t yield marked improvements overnight; you’ll need to be diligent and stick with it (although you’ll definitely notice acute benefits).

Those of you who have been following our Neanderthal No More series will definitely be interested in the valuable role foam rollers can play in correcting postural afflictions. Get to work on those tight muscles and you’ll definitely see appreciable returns on your efforts!

So let’s get started!


What you need to get:

1) 6″ foam roller (either the 1′ long or 3′ long version)

2) Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” CD

3) A leopard-skin thong

4) Two quarts of baby oil to lube yourself up

Note: If you thought we were really serious on numbers two through four, you need to get your mind out of the gutter and find a new favorite website!


Techniques

These techniques are actually very simple to learn. Basically, you just use your body weight to sandwich the roller between the soft tissue to be released and the floor. Roll at a slow pace and actually stop and bear down on the most tender spots (“hot spots”). Once the pain in these spots diminishes, roll the other areas.

In order to increase the pressure on the soft tissue, simply apply more of your body weight to the roller. The simplest way to do this is by either moving from working both legs at once to one leg, or by “stacking” one of your legs on top of the other to increase the tension.

As you get more comfortable with SMR, you’ll really want to be bearing down on the roller with most (if not all) of your body weight. As with almost anything in the training world, there’s considerable room for experimentation, so you’ll definitely want to play around with the roller to see what works best for you. Be careful to avoid bony prominences, though. (Insert your own joke here.)

One other technique we’ve found to be beneficial is to work from the proximal (nearest the center of the body) to the distal (away from the center of the body) attachment of the muscle. For instance, instead of working your quadriceps from top to bottom all in one shot, shorten your stroke a little bit. Work the top half first, and after it has loosened up, move on to the bottom half.

This is an important strategy because as you get closer to the distal muscle-tendon junction, there’s a concomitant increase in tension. By working the top half first, you decrease the ensuing tension at the bottom, essentially taking care of the problem in advance.

Note: Those with circulatory problems and chronic pain diseases (e.g. fibromyalgia) should NOT use foam rollers.

You can find more Demonstrations and Descriptions here:

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/feel_better_for_10_bucks;jsessionid=6BF4E5BC98ED4EBC3B90A67018AFF360-mcd01.hydra

  Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this article has been proof enough that SMR on the foam roller is an excellent adjunct to your training, diet, supplementation, and restoration efforts. And, even if it isn’t, we’re only talking about ten bucks here, people! For crying out loud, just look under the couch cushions for change and you’re halfway there!

Where do you buy one? Try Perform Better:

Classic 1′ roller

More Durable Foam Roller Plus

Pick one up and give it a shot. Your body will thank you for years to come!