S.M.R. aka Self Myofascial Release - a form tool assisted, self-massage that is used to release muscle tension, improve flexibility and boost movement efficiency - is on the rise and I, for one, am ECSTATIC to see my clients doing what's best by their own bodies. But I get this question all the time: why do it? There are as many reasons as there are muscles in the human body, but let me get you going with the top benefits of S.M.R. (not ASMR... that's for another blog post...)
Range of Motion
Reach the high shelf, friend! The techniques I teach and encourage are going to increase that joint mobility so you can prevent injuries both before and after workout. Make your muscles work WITH your joints!
Have you ever gone into a workout, even a walk around the block, and just felt tight, even after stretching? S.M.R. before and after a workout can help activate and engage those hard-to-stretch areas so that our muscles cooperate through our workout. Then afterward, we roll out some of those muscular habits while our bodies are still warm.
Soft connective tissue can be responsible for quite a bit of your joint pain. And think about it: if we activate those areas where we have developed muscle tension due to former soft tissue injuries or repetitive motions, we can help our whole body engage in exercises. The idea of "muscle memory" can add to our injuries, so why not engage in a little bit of a memory eraser?
Quality of Life
It may seem like it goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway. The S.M.R. techniques that I show you will do all of the above to improve your quality of life. It may seem crazy, but being able and stable on my feet to play weird games that my kids make up has been a priceless payoff. I don't know why they like to have me stoop for hours on end, but I do know that rolling before and after has helped me keep going.
Equipment I recommend
For home use, I recommend using a HIGH DENSITY foam roller. This will last for a LONG time! Unlike the single foam rollers, they hold their shape and can also be used for Pilates-based strength training exercises.
For travel, I like to use the "stick" style rollers. You use them in the same method, but, instead of using body weight for pressure, you push into the muscle (not unlike rolling out dough!).
I like THIS ONE by Trigger Point.
For hard to reach spots on your back this KNOT RELEASER CANE is ahhhhhh-mazing.
Finally, for rolling the bottom of your foot and getting deep in the glutes, LACROSSE BALLS work wonders!
Also for feet (they are, after all, the root of our entire way of moving), is this WEIRD MAT that I just absolutely swear by and keep in my car!
WANT TO SEE HOW TO USE ALL OF THIS STUFF EFFECTIVELY??
You can experience this amazing body freedom that comes from taking care of your body in one of the most exciting ways. Some call it self-massage, some call it foam rolling, but now we know it as Self Myofascial Release and oh, how sweet it is!
Have I sold you yet? Well, I have a tutorial chock full of tools and techniques just for you in the Body Freedom Fitness Studio via the link below. Hop on now, and if you're not already a member, get your first week for free!