Self Myofascial Release(SMR)
Chronic and/or temporary injuries are the number one reason why most people can’t fully participate in exercise programs or fall short of achieving their fitness goals.
While many fitness professionals are aware of this growing problem, more than 40 percent of personal trainers and group fitness classes do not have a structured approach for helping clients alleviate recurring muscle and joint pain.
This enormous gap between the pain-relief needs of clients and the lack of corrective exercise services offered to them is the driving force behind this three-part article series.
This first article in the series teaches you how to develop and implement a successful self-myofascial release (SMR) program to alleviate muscle and joint pain. The second and third articles will focus on how to progress corrective exercise programs by incorporating stretching techniques and corrective strengthening exercises to retrain client movement patterns.
Types of Self-Myofascial Release Techniques
SMR involves applying repetitive pressure to an area of soft tissue (i.e., muscles and fascia) that contains restrictions or lacks movement. The sustained pressure stimulates circulation to the area, reduces pressure build-up from sluggish blood flow and restores suppleness to the tissues (Rolf, 1989).
Trigger-point massage is a form of SMR that is used to restore movement and elasticity to muscles and their associated fascia.
Trigger-point massage is slightly different, however, in that it is intended to target a very specific area of a muscle (or the surrounding fascia). Trigger points are tender spots located within a taut band of myofascial tissue. They are called trigger points because they trigger a painful response to the surrounding area when stretched, moved or touched. Like all myofascial issues, trigger points will not go away on their own.
If left unaddressed, trigger points can lead to additional restrictions and compensation patterns throughout the entire body (Abelson and Abelson, 2003).
The Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release
The use of myofascial release techniques is not exactly a new idea. Massage has been used in one form or another to promote health, relieve stress and reduce pain for approximately 5,000 years.
There are many documented benefits of myofascial release and self-massage, including (Price, 2013):
Once you have identified which myofascial structures need addressing, consider the following questions before recommending:
Strategic SMR techniques should be the mainstay of any client program. The techniques outlined in this article can rejuvenate and regenerate those myofascial structures that need addressing before progressing clients to the stretching and strengthening components of their corrective exercise programs.
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