As the fitness industry continues to grow it is becoming ever more important to take care of your body with proper recovery. Not only sleep and nutrition is necessary but giving the appropriate attention to your muscles they deserve. There are a lot of products out there that are inexpensive and will give your muscles the benefit of deep tissue work. This process is called SMR or Self-Myofacial Release.
Foam rollers are perfect for “rolling out” your muscles includes the quads, hamstrings, triceps, and calves. These help your muscles by returning them and your soft tissue to their native form. Further, by regaining the normal state, range of motion is improved as well as overall performance.1 For best results it is recommended to use a high density foam roller like the Cando®.
General guidelines for using these rollers are2:
1) Make sure to hold each position for 1-2 minutes.
2) If pain is present go ahead an rest on the painful area for 30-45 seconds.
- This stimulates tendons to reduce muscle tension
3) If you continue to roll over the pain it could increase tightness
Below are suggested exercises 2:
IT Band: While on your side, raise yourself up as if in a side plank. Place the roller under the bottom leg, bend the top leg and bring it in front for support. Be sure the head is neutral- ears aligned with your shoulders. Begin rolling just below the hips and down the lateral thigh.
Hamstring: Place the roller under the hamstrings. You can cross your legs to increase leverage and roll from the knee towards to back hip. Keep your quads tight.
Quadriceps: Position yourself stomach down and roller under the quads. While maintaining proper control of your core, roll from the pelvic bone to the knee.
Another great tool is a lacrosse ball to really work the knots. What sets a ball apart from the roller is the ability to work lower back muscles like the Serratus and upper back like the Trapezius. Allegro
Medical carries the FitBALL Spiky Balls designed with sensory points to help encourage stimulation.
It should be noted that when doing SMR it will be painful especially if you had an intense workout. However, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.
1Barnett, Jeff. “Science Says Foam Rolling Increases ROM and Does Not Decrease Strength.”Breaking Muscle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/science-says-foam-rolling-increases-rom-and-does-not-decrease-strength
2Clark, Michael, MS, PT, PES, CSCS, and Alan Russell, ATC, NASM-PES, CSCS. “Self-Myofascial Release Techniques.” Perform Better! N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PBOnePieceView?storeId=10151
The jury may still be out as to whether stretching actually prevents injuries and/or improves athletic performance but one thing is for sure – it feels good. And for increasing flexibility, there’s nothing like a good stretch.
Want to increase your flexibility? Here are some products designed to help you get your best stretch.
Top 10 Most Popular Stretching and Flexibility Products
ProStretch – Unilateral – The ProStretch PT100 stretches and conditions the lower leg muscles, tendons and ligaments of each leg individually. Used by many professional athletes.
Prostretch Double – This bilateral stretching system stretches both legs simultaneously. Ideal for stretching and rehab of the ankle, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Includes instructional DVD.
Add resistance while stretching with the ProStretch Complete Motion Enhancement System.
Shop all ProStretch
Fitter Multi-Slant Home Unit – This slant board easily adjusts to 3 different levels. Ensures constant improvement as your lower extremity stretching flexibility increases. Folds flat for easy storage. Non-slip.
Shop all Slant Boards
Body Therapy Balls – These compact balls are used to stretch and release tension in muscular tissue in the pelvic, hip, lower back, middle back, neck, chest and shoulder area.
Shop all Exercise Balls and Rolls
CoreStretch – This back and core stretcher is designed to stretch the back, shoulders, hips, hamstrings and shins. Perform more than 10 different stretches with this versatile product! Adjustable and easy to set up.
DEX II Decompression and Extension Machine – The DEX II from Teeter Hang Ups is a forward-rotating, user controlled inversion machine. Ideal for back extension exercises. Traction handles allow for stretching and increased decompression to help relieve back pain.
Shop all Teeter Hang Ups inversion systems
Stretch-Rite – Six progressive color-coded handgrips provide controlled stretching for improved flexibility and range of motion. Move to the next handgrip position as stretching improves. Completely portable.
Shop all Cando products
Lynx Portable Back Stretcher – A compact, portable solution for stretching, relaxing and decompressing your spine and joints. Folds for storage. Includes a nylon travel bag. 5 yr warranty.
Stretch to Win – This stretching manual contains a comprehensive flexibility training system written from a sports medicine point of view. Perfect for the professional athlete, therapist or training. Complete with stretching principles, anatomy and physiology. 250 pages with illustrations.
Shop all Exercise Books and DVDs
Overdoor Exercise Pulley Set – Strengthen, stretch your upper body and increase your range of motion with this portable exercise pulley set. Hangs over most any door.
HAPPY STRETCHING! And thanks for being an Allegro customer. We appreciate your business.