Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) - Soft tissue therapy for your muscles which focus on nerves and connective tissue. SMR via a foam roller or a spikey ball are two great ways to remove muscle imbalances, increase range of motion and improve neuromuscular efficiency.
Knee pain can be due to having tight Illiotibial bands (ITB), this is located on the lateral sides of your quadriceps. The ITB can become tight due to overuse from exercises such as squats, running, cycling and hiking. Combined with a weak vastis medialis (VMO) this can lead to patella tracking which results in pain through your knee. By utilising SMR, this pain can be reduced by releasing tension in the ITB. Simply holding yourself in a side plank where the foam roller lies on your hip, roll down towards your knee and back up to the hip. If it's too painful use your other leg to bear some of your weight (as seen below). 10 repetitions each side before a workout is recommended. A more thorough roll out is recommend post workout as this can relax the muscles and release tension throughout our muscles.
Other muscle groups that require SMR are the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower (lumbar) and upper (thoracic) back. A spikey ball can isolate a specific area which is particularly sore, Spikey balls can massage some areas more effectively than a foam roller; for example the shoulder, the sciatic nerve or a knot in your back (located in your glute). Breaking knots results in an increase of range of motion and enables you to perform activities of daily living with more ease. Spending an extra 5 minutes post exercise on a foam roller and a spikey ball can decrease the likelihood of injuries.
Feel free to ask me and the staff members of CFC any questions about SMR.
By Sing-kik Li