I was working with a client yesterday, and we identified a problem in her workouts that was preventing her from being successful in achieving her goals. Turns out, she needed to get her muscles to relax.
One of the first things she always does during her VerticAlign customized home based workout, is SMR (Self Myofascial Release). If you don’t know what SMR is read more about it here. I’ve been writing about it a lot lately! It’s a critical part of her daily routine and has helped her in the past with decreasing back and knee pain.
The problem is, she would tense up while doing her rolling and so she wasn’t actually getting into the muscle and doing the work that was needed to affect change.
The idea of SMR is to place pressure on the adhesion in the muscle and force it to break up. However, if your muscle is tensing up and contracting against the roller, you cannot get deep in enough to actually start breaking up the adhesion.
Now if you’ve ever done SMR work, you know that some of the positions are difficult to hold and may force you to tense up in order to hold the position properly. This is why for certain body parts, I recommend a tennis ball, or even better, my favorite, a beastie ball. In other positions, a ball will be too intense and the roller is a better option. Either way, the goal is to RELAX into the device you are using for your SMR work.
You may ask: How can I do this when it’s extremely painful? I know it’s tough. All I can say is to follow the 2 B’s: breathe and baby steps. If it’s too intense, just hold for 10 seconds and take a few days to work up to longer periods of time.
SMR requires daily consistency to see results. Here is a new video of SMR for the lats. This one is super important to the function of the shoulder joint.
I’ve helped several clients eliminate debilitating shoulder pain with this simple exercise. It works and it only takes 5 minutes. The foam roller usually works for this one but sometimes a ball is better:
My right lat is always more painful than my left. What about yours? How does this exercise feel for you?