Benefits of self Myofascial release or foam rolling.
Roll through the pain. We’ve all done it and It hurts so bad that you want to stop, but we are doing it because we are told to do it. You can notice your muscles feel better when you do it, but have you ever stopped to ask what foam rolling is actually doing and whether it actually works the way you think it might?
We will explain scientifically proven facts you need to know about the popular warm up and recovery tactic.
Think of fascia as the sausage casing surrounding every muscle fiber, every organ, every nerve fiber, every bone in the human body”.
Within the muscle, this fascia exists in multiple layers. First, it wraps around every individual muscle fiber or cell. Then, it wraps around bundles of muscle fibers, called fasciculi. Lastly, it wraps around the entire muscle body.
Together, these layers of fascia, apart from helping to give muscle its shape, attach to tendons and bones to help you push, pull,squat, run, bike, whatever it is you want to do.
The thing is,all on its own, muscle fascia is pretty solid and not very pliable. That could theoretically limit range of motion, or give you that feeling of stiff, tight muscles.
That’s specially true if the fibers that make up your muscle fascia form what’s called “adhesion” or “trigger points”.
Tangled muscles fibers in fascia can cause a variety of reasons such as muscle injury, inactivity, inflammation , disease, or trauma. For whatever reason, “the tissue binds to each other, loses elasticity, and forms taut bands of tissue that can be painful”. Myofascial release may help separate these fibers and re-establish the integrity of the tissue.
Foam rolling could also improve your workouts by literally warming your muscles. The friction induced by foam rolling or targeted muscles might also help to increase temperature of the fascia and muscles. Warming up your muscles before exercise helps loosen up the tissues and joints and increase range of motion- which helps move better during your workout and protect you from injury.
For Example, a 2018 study with a small group of people from the University of Stirling in the UK found that after foam rolling, it took less effort for a muscle to produce a given amount of force and people reported they felt less fatigue when they foamed rolled as part of their warm up.
Meanwhile, another study in the Journal of Athletic Training suggests that foam rolling after a workout can help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness, and therefore boost your performance in later workouts.
A comprehensive review published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy concluded that foam rolling promotes short-term increases in range of motion, increases muscle flexibility, which means you feel less tight and probably perform your workouts with better, more efficient, and safer form.
Professionals suggest spending 30 seconds on each spot you want to roll. If you have more time to dedicate it, they suggest doing 3 sets of 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between, on each muscle group you’re trying to target(focusing on the entire length of the muscle).
At the end of the day, remember that just like any other workout recover method, foam rolling should be as a tool to help you feel better during and after workouts. That means that you can and should tweak your rolling habits to whatever works best for you. So don't stress about sticking to a strict schedule.