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Learn how to release those tight spots in your muscles
Foam rolling on muscle knots is an effective way to release them
And we’re prone to getting more tight muscles as we get older, so finding an effective way to release that tightness can help keep you limber and active for a lifetime.
Many people think stretching is a good treatment for tight muscles, but that’s not always the case. In fact, there isn’t much scientific evidence that static stretching (the type of stretching most people are familiar with) actually does anything.
There are better options for relieving tense muscles.
A really good way to free up restricted muscles is to do what’s called self-myofascial release. It’s also referred to as trigger point therapy as well as self massage.
You can do it at home with a foam roller or small balls. I prefer the Grid foam roller by Trigger Point Performance Therapy (pictured on the left) though a regular, longer foam roller will do (like the one I’m using in the demonstration photos).
(See Resources below for information on where to buy these).
You’ll use the roller and rubber balls to roll the tight spots in your muscles. This will release the tension and allow for a better range of motion in that tissue. Here are some tips to follow:
Here’s how to use the roller on common tight spots.
Place foam roll under mid belly of lower leg. Cross one leg over the other leg to increase pressure (optional). Slowly roll calf area to find any tender spots.
Do this with foot pointing up, then with the foot turned out and turned in. This will target the middle, outer and inner part of the calves.
Lie face down with both your thighs on the roller. Brace your abs and tighten your glutes.
Start from a few inches below your hips and slowly roll to a couple of inches above your knee, stopping on any tender spots.
Begin positioned as shown with one leg crossed over opposite knee.
Slowly roll over your hips/glutes, stopping on any tender spots.
Outer Thigh (IT Band)
Lie on the roller on your side just below your hips. Do not lie directly on the hip joint. Support yourself on your elbow and the foot of the top leg as pictured.
Roll from your hip down the outside of your thigh to a few inches above the knee.
For this area it’s best to use a small ball to get into the small areas all around your shoulder blades and your mid-back.
Place the ball on a wall and lean on the ball with it positioned in your mid-back region between your spine and your shoulder blade.
Roll along the muscles in this area including the region along the edge of your shoulder blade. Do not roll on the bone itself.
You can buy the Grid foam roller online, but to save shipping and customs charges go to Active Orthopaedic in Kitsilano.
Regular foam rollers you can buy at Fitness Town locations.
Go to a dollar store to get a small rubber ball or you can also use a tennis ball.