The art of zen and myofascial release

Sounds complicated?  Well I promise it’s not.

A simple technique. 10 extra minutes. A whole lotta bang for your buck.

OK. So what is it?  MFR is a direct soft tissue treatment used to break down the build up of fascia in our skeletal muscle.

But what is fascia? Fascia is a soft tissue that runs through your entire muscular system. A combination of collagen fibre, fat, and water.

So why release it? Fascia is like the lubrication between your muscle fibres. When you body isn’t moving to its full potential, this “lubricant” starts to clog. It gets very sticky, and in some cases completely hardens. Can you imagine what this does to your muscles? We release to: relieve pain, increase our flexibility, mobility, and athletic performance.

If you ask yourself honestly, how much preparation do you do for exercise? A quick jog? A stretch maybe? Well, I’m here to tell you, that isn’t good enough! Myofascial release can be administered in many ways. The most popular being the foam roller.

Now the foam roller is either everyone’s “new favourite toy”, or that odd looking, elongated tube that you’ve only seen the gym regulars using with a face like they just missed the last train home.

So whether you are rock ‘n’ rolling or staring from the safety of your rocking chair, here are a few handy hints to make your foam rolling better.

1) Time is of the essence, the more time you spend rolling each muscle the more likely you are to find the points that need rolling.

2)   The pressure’s on, to relax. This shouldn’t be a painful experience, so don’t make it one. Use a sliding scale, 1-10 (10 being painful). Don’t allow your discomfort to rise above a 6. Excessive discomfort equals tension, and negative results.

3) Be exclusive. This treatment is for muscles only. Don’t ‘roll’ over your body’s connective tissues, ie the back of the knee or ankle. Don’t second guess, if it doesn’t feel like a muscle it’s probably not one.

4) That’s IT. These “connective tissue” includes your ‘IT’ band (the side of your upper legs stretching from hip to knee).  It is difficult to release or even stretch your IT band directly, despite what the friendly chap in the vest at the gym says. If rolling your IT bands does not not release tension, then maybe look elsewhere. The main culprits being Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings and Calves.

5) Keep it up.  Roll and roll again. Before, during and after exercise, or even on rest days.

6) The more the merrier. Rolling is not an exclusive club for the experienced gym users. It’s for everybody.

So grab a friend and get rolling.

Foam Roll Master class

Don’t forget to stretch…. Boring? Not necessarily. Gone are the days of the static stretching before workouts. A more effective method to prepare for a workout would be using Dynamic Stretches, using movement to get your muscles ready for action.


Dynamic stretching is a great way to: 

– Lengthen muscles; to increase range of motion. 

– Warm the muscles; increasing the blood flow to increase overall performance.

– Activate the muscles; the dynamic motion preparing each muscle for efficient movement.


About Mearns_
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