Self myofascial release (SMR)
What is it?
Although the term is a bit ambiguous it is used as a technical term for self massage. Self = (oneself), Myo = (Muscle), Fascial = (Fascia).
It usually involves an external object, often a foam roller or hard ball and rubbing/pushing it into muscles. This pressure causes a stimulus which is often quite painful.
Many athletes use it to warm up before a session, as they tend to feel better afterwards.
Why do it?
As mentioned above, it tends to make athletes feel better before beginning a session.
Although the empirical evidence behind the benefits of SMR are disputed,I find that certain athletes respond very well and other athletes don’t find a benefit. Therefore, if it works, we use it, if not we use other strategies to get the body feeling good before a session.
If you want to know more about which foam roller is best to use, then check out this article on Barbend.
How to do it?
Once you get into the the gym grab a foam roller or lacrosse ball and start to explore the body, to see how it is feeling, we term this a “body scan”.
Simply start at the calves keep working up the body to the shoulders. Our focus of doing this is solely on the large muscle groups: Calves, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Low Back, Shoulders, Forearms.
It should take 10-15 minutes in total.
I would avoid doing any SMR on other parts of the body, such as the front of the neck, especially if you don’t know your anatomy or what you are doing.
Once you have found a muscle group that is sore you can spend 1-2 minutes specifically working into that area, before moving on.
When you have done this a few times, you will find a few areas that tend to be tender and these can become your focus point.
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