Why is SMR So Important?
SMR is important for helping you remain flexible and injury free. Utilizing a foam roll for self-myofascial release techniques can improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. Use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away knots/adhesions that occur from exercise and activities of daily living (ADL).
SMR massage is an interactive soft tissue release technique. Once you find a tender spot, you’ll want to remain on the spot for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute (or as long as you can take it). Some spots may be very tender. Those are the spots that need the most work. Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in back towards your spine and breathe naturally.
The main purpose for use includes:
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle tightness
- Identified tenderness (indicating poor circulation)
You can also use this technique for a warm-up before exercise and a cool-down after exercise, first thing in the morning as well as prior to going to bed.
Other tools you may use include tennis balls, softballs, golf balls, frozen water bottle, thumb pressure, Theracane or pressure knobs.
Do not perform under the following conditions:
- Feelings of nausea
- Pain (more than tenderness)
- Acute rheumatoid arthritis
- Painful varicose veins
- If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia
When choosing a foam roll, make sure the foam roll is hard and dense. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur. In the video below (Exercise of The Week), I discuss a couple of different types of foam rolls and demonstrate some of the positions for SMR.