The body is made up of the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems; together they create the kinetic chain. These systems work together to produce movement. If one system is not working properly, there will be dysfunction in your biomechanics – Eric Taylor (active.com)
I’m on a mission to restore my body through foam rolling and deep stretching.
After years of high-impact physical activity such as weights, rock climbing, and mixed martial arts my movement patterns are way dysfunctional. See, all that exercise has contracted my muscles and without a release like yoga or regular stretching I’ve altered my movement patterns. How can I tell? Reoccurring back and shoulder injuries along with inflexibility in my hips, hams, and lats. The true cause of my hernia, I suspect.
Anyway, restoring and repairing are overdue so without further adieu here’s me kicking off part 1 of my restoration plan.
Restoration in 3 Steps
- Foam roll one muscle group daily
- Deep stretch each muscle group for 2 minutes each side
- Full-body daily stretch
Foam rolling is a pretty miserable activity. It’s using a hard piece of foam or something like a tennis ball to break down muscle “knots” which are tight areas in the muscles that hurt when pressed on. These knots restrict blood flow and mess up natural movement patterns. They also hamper recovery. They hurt like a bastard too…so let’s fix ’em!
Check out this great instructional paragraph from the hard workers at breakingmuscle.com
To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen – Jeff Kuhland
See, rolling it out finds those tender spots but the magic happens when you pause the roller on a tender spot…and just breathe. Relax the tension in your face and neck and sink into it. It will hurt but in a good way and after a few sessions you will feel like rubber, which is a great feeling in case you didn’t know.
Roll/Stretch Group Day #1: Calves & Tibialis Anterior
Up and down the calf muscle with a pause on the tender spots. If you’re like me you’ll have a lot of sore spots. But wow a deep stretch feels nice afterward as the freshly rolled muscle comes back to life.
Hitting the front of the calf does wonders for gait and reduces ankle, knee, and hip pain. This area of the leg gets so tight from walking and it never gets stretched out unless you are quite deliberate about it. Because this area gets so incredibly tight when I haven’t stretched in a while I start SLOW and use deep even breathing to relax into it.
Only One Muscle Group Per Day?
Yes, because rolling is exhausting. More than one masseuse has told me massage releases toxins stored in the muscle; I’m not sure if this is true but it sure feels like it when I’m wrecked the next day after a serious muscle lengthening session. I’ve even felt flu-like symptoms for a day or two after some nice deep tissue rub work, and since foam rolling is essentially solo deep tissue destruction (I’m exaggerating, kinda) it puts a different kind of stress on the body. Thus, I’m easing into it to bounce back quicker for consistency’s sake.
Wish me luck. I’ll be posting regular updates on this to help turn restorative exercise into a habit.
Active.com – How Myofascial Release Can Prevent Injury
Breakingmuscle.com – What Is A Foam Roller, How Do I Use It, And Why Does It Hurt?