-5% of the 10RM x10
-10% of the 10RM x10
Learn to FSquat and Power Clean
From Callahan Strong
With the ever-growing cost of gasoline and groceries $13 bucks won’t buy you much these days. If you are a frequent consumer of the popular coffee houses like my fiancé is then you know that $13 bucks won’t buy you many frappe-latte-grande-triple shot-double the whipped cream- cherry on top coffees either. But, there is something that we can still get for $13 bucks that can carry great value toward the quality of our living. What I am suggesting is to get yourself a foam roller and start doing some self-myofascial release (SMR) as often as possible.
I must admit up until probably the last 18 months I can’t say that I was completely sold on the idea of SMR. I think I knew on some level that I should do it and I should have my athletes and clients do it but, deep down it wasn’t really that important to me. It wasn’t until I read some of the work of Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson and through my CSCS certification that I understood how and why it worked. During the time I spent earning my CSCS certification I learned about the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) and the term autogenic inhibition. It wasn’t until after reading the work of Mike Roberts that I understood how these terms and foam rolling was so closely linked. Without getting too scientific, the GTO is located at the muscle-tendon junction and it is responsible for relaying the level of tension in the muscle-tendon pairing. When the tension in a muscle reaches the point in which an injury may occur such as that in a tendon rupture, the GTO steps in and tells some muscle spindles to relax the muscle with tension. This process of reflex relaxation is autogenic inhibition at its finest. When using a foam roller you can simulate muscle tension and in return causes the GTO to relax the muscle.
Regardless of the routine rigors that you put your body through (athletics, bodybuilding, general fitness activities, etc) muscles need to have a balance of strength, resiliency, and pliability. Whereas conventional stretching can help with the length of a muscle, foam rolling and other soft tissue work will address tissue density and the pliability component. With foam rolling we can actually get both some length work (flexibility) through the increased range of motion using the GTO and autogenic inhibition property while simultaneously helping to rid the body of adhesions in the fascial system.
Hands on body work will and always will be a better form of addressing the density of muscle tissue. Unfortunately, from a finances standpoint having actual hands on type of work such as massage, active release therapy (ART), Rolfing, etc can prove to be a very costly amenity. Using a foam roller can prove to be effective both from a biological and financial standpoint when it comes to soft-tissue concerns.
What You Can Expect From SMR –
- You can expect to question if you are doing it correct.
- You can expect to wonder if others are thinking the same thing.
- You can expect it to be uncomfortable.
- You can expect an improvement in mobility and range of motion.
- You can expect reduction of scar tissue and fascial adhesions.
- You can expect decreased tone of overactive muscles.
- You can expect an improved quality of movement.
Reasons That You Might Not Use SMR –
- You might not use SMR on areas that have recently suffered an injury.
- You might not use SMR if you have circulatory problems.
- You might not use SMR if you have chronic pain conditions (e.g, fibromyalgia, etc)
- You might not use SMR on bony prominences/joints.
What we must understand about SMR is that it should be used like any other type of training. There must be a level of appropriate and accurate progression and regression for using SMR. The most common variables to manipulate for SMR are pressure and density. Examples of increasing the mass of an object would be going from a lighter foam roller to a heavier one, or going from a tennis ball to a lacrosse ball. The size hasn’t changed but the mass certainly has. Examples of changing pressure would be going from if you have two legs on the roller to taking one leg off. You could also stack the legs on top of each other to increase pressure or if you are using your hands and feet for balance and stability work to get them off the ground forcing more of your bodyweight onto the roller. As a general rule of thumb it will usually be much easier to decrease the surface area of an object (going from a roller to a tennis ball) than it is to apply more pressure.
Most common areas in need of SMR:
Plantar Fascia (common issue is Plantar Fasciitis) – will typically need to be performed with tennis ball or some similar object rolled on the bottom of the feet.
Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) and Illiotibial Band (IT Band)
(increasing the pressure by stacking the legs)
Tibialis Anterior (Shin)
Thoracic Extensors, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids
Latissmus Dorsi and Teres Major
How to SMR
This does not need to be an entire workout in itself. This should account for a very small fraction of the actual workout. Find the desired areas and make usually 10-15 passes back and forth or up and down the muscle. When you find a spot that seems to be more sensitive than others hold the roller in place on that one particular spot these will sometimes be referred to as “hot spots.” Usually the pain from these “hot spots” will start to subside after 30-45 seconds and then you would continue to move amongst the targeted area. This does not have to be a very complex chain of events, you will need practice at it and resist the urge to discredit it after the first “failed” attempt at it. You will get better at it and you will be thankful that you stuck with it.
The first thing that you need to do is get your hands on a foam roller. I’ve used many foam rollers over the last 18 months and can say that you’re going to get the best ones from Perform Better, sure Academy and those places have them but they are cheap and don’t seem to last long with routine usage. The ones at Perform Better the quality is high and the price is low. HERE is a link that will take you directly to what I’m talking about, there is no need to get fancy with all of the new “state of the art rollers” that are on the market just start with a basic one. If your gym or the place that you workout at offers foam rollers, great….that was easy then. I would still suggest that you have one at the house and use it as often as possible given the returns that you will get in return. I can assure you that you will not regret having a foam roller around the house. If the financial resources allow you I would actually suggest that you get a full 3’ roller and a 1’ roller to carry with you on trips or long car rides or to work. The 1′ roller actually tends to be a little easier to use in some places and also lends itself to useage against a wall if you prefer to roll some areas while standing.
Suggestions on what density roller to start with is somewhat of a guess really. I can say that I have had success with this approach: match the density of the person to the roller. If you are older or you are working with an older individual or anyone else that possesses less densities of muscle tissue then start with a softer roller (white roller will be lightest). If you are dealing with athletes or individuals that are more fit and have denser muscle tissues then you can get away with using more firm objects (black roller or other types).
So….get started! You will not regret it, it is worth the investment in time and very little money.