Foam Rolling, also called by its technical term "self-myofascial release"......can't we just call it foam rolling and stop being so fancy, I mean, that is what it is....foam rolling.  Either way, it is by far, one of the things that you have a love/hate relationship with.  It is one of those things that not only takes time but can hurt as well.  By hurt I mean a good hurt, like a pain that you know is going to benefit you after it is done...... like getting your wisdom teeth removed because you know it is worth it afterwards so you won't be in pain everyday. That kinda good.  If you are tight you should definitely be foam rolling.  Even if your not, it is great maintenance on your tissue to keep you loose and feeling good.  The benefits of foam rolling include...... • Corrects muscle imbalances • Improves joint range of motion • Relieves muscle soreness and joint stress • Decreases neuromuscular hypertonicity • Increases extensibility of musculotendinous junction • Improves neuromuscular efficiency • Maintains normal functional muscular length 

Foam rolling is pretty simple. All you do is use your own body weight to roll and put pressure on the foam roll, massaging away restrictions to normal soft-tissue extensibility. Here are some of the major muscles you should choose to roll on a daily basis. 

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Hold each position 1-2 minutes for each area you desire to roll. If pain is reported, stop rolling and REST on the painful areas for 30-45 seconds.  Continuing to roll when pain is present which will activate the muscle spindles, causing increased tightness and pain.  Resting 30-45 seconds on painful areas will stimulate the GTO and autogenically inhibit the muscle spindles; reducing muscular tension and will help regulate fascial receptors. Maintain proper Draw-In Position(engage core), which provides stability to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex during rolling. Clients can perform SMFR Program 1-2 times daily.

This can be done not only in a gym but at home as well.  Do some experimenting on your own. Give it a week or so to notice some differences. First thing you may notice is that you won't feel as many knots in your problem areas and you will start to get some good "release" sensations. This feels nice! Youtube is also a good resource to find some good techniques. Have fun and enjoy.....embrace the pain knowing that it will improve quick and you will benefit!

( Michael Clark, MS, PT, PES, CSCS and Alan Russell, ATC, NASM-PES, CSCS)