Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

I have talked about foam rolling almost EVERYDAY to my bootcampers, clients, friends, and family. When I talked about self myofascial release, many respond, “What the f$%k is that?”, or “Why do I need to use this technique?”. And the looks following those questions are priceless.

Yes, that is my daughter, Ayda. She made that face after I heard a few noises coming out of the other end. And then I asked her if she knew about SMR and if she utilizes it………

For those of you who have used a foam roller (for SMR) before know that the first couple of times can be quite uncomfortable! But as time goes by, and the more you use it, you notice that you’re range of motion improves, and you’re not as sore as you used to be. Thanks to autogenic inhibition it prevents the muscles from exerting more force than the bones or tendons can tolerate. It’s basically a reflex inhibition of a motor unit in response to constant tension in a muscle. The GTO (golgi tendon organ) is the key ingredient that makes foam rolling effective. It basically tells us the level of tension within the muscle/tendon group. With foam rolling, you can simulate the muscle tension to cause the GTO to relax.

Of course you get many benefits from regular stretching. Your muscles not only need to be strong, but supple as well. Whether you’re a strength athlete, runner, or a body builder, it’s critical to have strength with optimal function through a full range of motion. Static stretching only improves the length of the muscle, while SMR AND massage work improve the appearance of the muscle. It has also shown that it offers the ‘breakdown of soft-tissue adhesions and scar tissue’ (Robertson Training Systems, 2008).

Pretty nifty, huh? Oh, and you know that nasty monster we call ‘cottage cheese’ that likes to attack our thighs? Well, there’s a way to kill it: foam roll. It’s the easiest, cheapest way to reduce the appearance of those mountains on those butt cheeks and thighs (as well as eating healthy and exercising!).

So what does a foam roller look like? It looks like a big piece of hard, cylindrical Styrofoam piece. Like this:

You can purchase them at Walmart, Kmart, Amazon, Dick’s, etc. for like $20 and it’ll last you for a LONG TIME. It’ll save you hundreds on massages (though I still recommend getting them every once in a while) and will lessen your likely hood of injury. However, I would not recommend SMR to anyone who has recently injured themselves, has circulatory issues, chronic muscle pain (i.e. fibromyalgia), or swelling in bone/joints. But for the most point, the benefits are amazing.

Please read this article for more information and on how to use a foam roller.

Have a good one everyone!

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4 thoughts on “Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

  1. Pingback: Preventing Knee Pain « Lindsay Mattingly's Blog

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  3. Pingback: Getting back into shape (post baby) « Serenity Oaks

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