Self-Myofacial Release: the Poor Man's Massage

Jan
15

Posted by Coach Jamie Brown

Happy New Year! Now that we are mostly back to training and building our base for our race season, I wanted to discuss a topic that sometimes gets tossed by the wayside as our workouts get longer and our time gets shorter.

Recovery is critical part of being a successful, HEALTHY, and happy triathlete.
There are many different approaches to recovery including ice, ice baths, acupuncture, massage, ART, static stretching and many more. The one I find most effective because of low cost, time efficiency, and proven results of increasing performance and recovery is SMR (Self-Myofacial Release) or what I like to call the “Poor Man’s Massage”.

Why SMR? As triathletes we are constantly stacking workouts on workouts and consistently lose range of motion in our hip complex. When used in a warm-up routine, SMR has been shown to increase range of motion without decreasing muscle performance.

SMR for Recovery has also been shown to: enhance muscle relaxation (1,2), improve joint range of motion, improve neuromuscular efficiency (1,3,4), reduce soreness and improve tissue recovery (1), Suppress/reduce trigger point sensitivity and pain (2,6,7), and decrease neuromuscular hypertonicity (1)

Tools for SMR: Foam roll, knotted foam roll, trigger point roller, medicine ball, softball, lacrosse ball, roller stick, basketball, PVC pipe (ouch) and many others. Be creative! If you never have actually used this method than you should start with a regular foam roller and progress to a denser surface.

How to foam roll: The first rule is to go slow and take your time moving along the length of muscle being worked. Many times you will find a adhesion/knot and immediately move off of it. The key is holding on that spot for 30-60 seconds which will allow the muscle to relax and discomfort to subside.

Popular Triathlete muscles for SMA and foam rolling:

  • Calves/Soleus
  • Illiotibial (IT) Band
  • Quads
  • Piriformis
  • Hip Flexor
  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
  • Thoracic Spine.

Search YouTube videos for how-tos on rolling particular muscle groups, or try this site: https://www.youtube.com/user/tptherapy.


References:

1. Clark MA, Lucett SL. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training, Baltimore, MD:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2011.
2. Clark MA, Lucett SL. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training 4th ed. Baltimore, MD:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2012.
3. Edgerton VR, Wolf S, Roy RR. Theoretical basis for patterning EMG amplitudes to assess muscle dysfunction. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1996;28(6):744-751.
4. Janda V. Muscle weakness and inhibition in back pain syndromes. In: Grieve GP (ed). Modern Manual Therpay of the Vertebral Column. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1986.
5. Hanten WP, Olson SL, Butts NL, Nowicki AL. Effectiveness of a home program of ischemic pressure followed by sustained stretch for treatment of myofascial trigger points. Phys Ther 2000;80:997-1003.
6. Hou CR, Tsai LC, Cheng KF, Chung KC, Hong CZ. Immediate effects of various therapeutic modalities on cervical myofascial pain and trigger-point sensitivity. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002;83: 1406-14.

 


Coach Jamie Brown is based in Bend, Oregon and is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach as well as certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for CPT, PES and CES. Jamie currently races in the Elite ITU Paratriathlon Series and is a two-time National Champion, two-time XTERRA World Championship qualifier and has 10 years of Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach experience. Jamie was also a collegiate pitcher for for Orange Coast College and Chapman University. He can be reached at Jamie@TeamMPI.com.

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