“Aimless” foam rolling is about as useful as patting a rock and pretending like it’s a kitten. Yeah it’s fun and feels good for a few minutes, but at the end of the day, you’re not actually doing anything useful and you could be more time efficient.
Now, not to say that foam rolling can’t be utilised as an effective soft tissue/fascial release mechanism. I go to town on my ITB on the reg. and boy does it feeeeeel good 😉
I’m talking about the “yeah go and sit on a foam roller for a few minutes to warm up and I’ll be there in a second” type stuff.
Or the “yeah I’ve done some squats and I got told foam rolling will help reduce pain, so I quickly roll them out at the end of a session while I post selfies on the grams” type operator.
I accentuated the word “aimless” because unless there is an aim to what you’re doing, it is fair to say that it’s aimless. So too, if you’re aiming for the wrong result, then I would also consider that to be aimless or just uneducated. Either way, there’s a better way.
Myofascial release refers to the claim that direct pressure and stretching will help lengthen the muscle fibres in order to reduce pulling and tension throughout the body, in order to reduce restriction and immobility.
Unfortunately, the body doesn’t respond to a quick 30 second roll of the lateral quad and decide to miraculously heal your DOMS and your chronic knee pain. (Despite what claims they make on their over priced packaging).
The best method to increasing your mobility in a given area is by inducing direct pressure for long periods of time into what are known as “trigger points” , whilst actively releasing the muscle.
There has been many theories as to what is happening from a physiological standpoint during this direct pressure for long durations, however the results speak volumes.
Whether it’s due to the contractile elements and fascial components being “broken up” and remodelled, or whether it’s the adaptation from the central nervous system allowing for relaxation in the muscles’ spindle, or a combination of both, all we know is that it works a lot better when there is tension and directly aimed pressure for long bouts of time.
Firstly, it helps to have an understanding of the anatomy and the impacts that given musculature has on the bones and joints they are operating. E.g. Why having a tight pec minor will influence your overhead positioning and how directly releasing that will impact your shoulder girdle as a whole.
However, to save you a few years of studying the anatomy, I have pin pointed some of my favourite places I like to stick a broomstick handle or a lacrosse ball.