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Scratching an Itch

By Alia | In Rest Day | on October 6, 2013

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You may have heard your coach suggest that you foam roll before and after a workout or lifting session. As a diligent and dedicated athlete, you have either purchased your own foam roller or come in early to perform some self myofascial release on your tight muscles. But do you know how to effectively perform a myofacial release on yourself? Just scratching an itch over time can temporarily relieve a pain or problem. Foam rolling and recovery mobility is meant to address, aid and over time, heal the offending muscle improving and correcting mobility issues.

If you need to ‘roll’ out your glutes do you literally move forward and back on a foam roller? Or do you find that uncomfortable spot and smash the life out of it? I’m not saying that the rolling method is incorrect but there are other ways to get that muscle to melt instead of just “scratching the itch”. Let’s go back to those example glutes. While sitting on a lacrosse ball or TP ball, don’t just roll around until you find a spot and move back and forth. Try moving your leg around to hit the different ranges of motion that muscle controls instead of moving your whole body to dig in. In this case that means, as an example, with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, open and close your legs. Much like a clam complex, even parts of the complex that involve a straight leg movement; but sitting upright instead of on your side. Moving through that range of motion may expose other areas that need work in your glutes. Just rolling in one direction is mostly on dimensional. We have many dimensions and even more layers of complicated muscle structures.

If you have time, check out the Triggerpoint book in the mobility area. There are some great suggestions for ways to get a muscle to release without all the rolling back and forth. Also, I highly recommend picking up Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starett of Mobility WOD. There are some great ways to target pesky areas. But don’t over do it, just enough to get some relief.

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