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What is Myofascial Release?

Foam rolling, trigger points, myofascial release…. these are big buzz words in fitness today… so what is it?

In the simplest terms possible, the muscular system is encased in a fiberous netting called Fascia. This tissue, when healthy, moves and flows well with active muscle. But we live in a sedentary world, and this tissue doesn’t get to move the way that it should. We sit for long periods of time, stand hunched over, and twist and contort our bodies into funky angles. Over time this takes it’s toll. The fascia glues down the muscle and it creates restricted movement. This causes faulty movement patterns and that can lead to pain, inflammation, and injury. Stretching can help with these restrictions, but what we are finding is that stretches don’t affect the glued down tissue very effectively. In comes myofascial release. Originally done by experienced body workers, we have come up with tools to be able to improve tissue and movement quality on ourselves. These tools include rollers, balls, trigger point canes, etc. So, what do we do with them?

The point of these tools are to tack down and/or stretch restrictions created by fascial adhesions. First, you have to find the restrictions by rolling over the tissue and finding the sensitive points, aka, trigger points. These usually represent the areas of restriction. Once you identify these restrictions, you have several ways to release the tissue. You can go through traditional “rolling” which will stretch and compress the fascia from the top. Also, you can tack down the tissue with one of your tools, but instead of moving the tool, you leave the tool in place and move the body around the tool. This is a way of freeing the muscle from the fascia from underneath. An example would be placing a tennis ball under the glute and bending and sliding the leg around to flex and stretch the hip.

These are only a couple ways to think about improving tissue health and movement, while decreasing pain, improving performance, and generally feeling better. Just know that you can improve yourself if you pay attention to how you move, how you feel, and take the time to improve your body’s recovery. Recovery is vital to making improvements in your training. At Performance EDU, we know that gainz are made through training hard, recovering fast, and eating right. Take care of yourself!

 

Ryan Golec | Director of Movement Enhancement