When the average person thinks about flexibility and stretching, self myofascial release with foam rolls (SMFR) is not what comes to mind. Basic static stretching will probably be thought of first by most people. As was discussed in part 2 of this series, static stretching has its part in a comprehensive flexibility program. Flexibility is important in order to maintain elasticity in our muscles to help prevent injuries. SMFR should be a part of your flexibility program.
You can increase your elasticity in the muscles by improving your flexibility. This will improve your performance. SMFR is like getting a massage. The foam roller is one of the most effective techniques for releasing tension while improving mobility. Foam rolling exercises will release and organize your muscles, as well as release and align your skeletal system. Muscle injuries such as strains and tears and broken bones can be avoided with proper flexibility and skeletal alignment. You'll immediately feel the effectiveness of SMFR and its something you can do every day at home. You will basically be your own massage therapist. Listed below is a summary of the benefits of SMFR:
1. SMFR releases tension in your muscles due to overuse, tightness and aging.
2. The SMFR process restructures and realigns your skeletal system.
3. The SMFR process improves balance and body awareness.
4. SMFR can be used in the rehabilitation process and massage therapy.
5. SMFR can be used for Pilates exercises.
Here is an example of a SMFR hamstring exercise:
1. Place hamstrings on the roll with your hips unsupported.
2. Crossed your feet to increase leverage.
3. Roll from knee toward posterior hip.
4. If a "tender point" is located, stop rolling, and rest on the tender point until pain decreases by 75%.
In the final part(4) of this series, I will cover rehabilitative flexibility.