Self-myofascial Release (SMR) is a form tool assisted, self-massage that is used to release muscle tension, improve flexibility and boost movement efficiency. SMR can be done with a variety of tools such as foam rollers, lacrosse or tennis balls, hand held rollers, or even a rolling pin. Fitness professionals and physical therapists often include SMR into recovery plans and exercise routines because of their many applications and benefits.

Foam rollers and other tools work well when the body part or muscle is directly on top of the tool and moved back and forth rhythmically. Myofascial release can be an intense experience because pressure is applied to tight and knotted muscles in order to trigger relaxation. However, consistent use will maximize the benefits and decrease the discomfort. Here are some tips to use foam rolling to keep your body healthy and active:

Foam roll as part of the warm up
Foam rolling is designed to reduce tension and knots in the muscle. When foam rolling prior to exercise, focus on the muscles that are tense. This will increase blood flow to those muscles and also allow them to lengthen in order to improve the range of movement of the joint. This will improve the exercises by allowing for full range of motion of the joint.

Foam roll as part of the cool down
Foam rolling at the end of a workout will stretch and relieve tension in the muscles. This will help with recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

Foam roll to improve joint mobility
According to NASM, efficient human movement and function requires a balance of muscle length and muscle strength around a joint. If muscles are not balanced then the associated joint is directly affected. As these patterns of dysfunction continue, the muscle imbalance will lead to muscles on one side of the joint becoming chronically shortened and muscles on the opposing side of the joint becoming chronically lengthened. This is where the terms ‘overactive’ and ‘underactive’ come from. Muscles are flexors and extensors which means that if the flexor is underactive and the extensor is overactive the joint will not move in it’s full range of motion. Applying a foam roller to those overactive muscles will to reduce the tension in the muscle so that the joint is not hindered and improve it’s mobility.

Donne Brown Railsback a NASM certified personal trainer, will be hosting a workshop to teach techniques to get the most from SMR and incorporate this practice into your exercise routine on December 19th at 11:30am. Investment is $10 for members and $15 for non-members to attend live at Release Well-Being Center or live stream via Zoom. If interested but the time doesn’t work for your schedule, register and we will send you a link to a recording good for one week.

Reserve your spot now using the Release Well-Being Center app, by going online to or by giving us a call at (508)986-2330!