Foam rollers and other soft tissue mobility tools have become very popular in recent years. These tools allow people to improve flexibility, relax the nervous system, and minimize muscular adhesions that occur in the fascia. Surprisingly, many people do not know how these tools actually work or how to maximize the benefits of performing soft tissue mobilization.
Key Tips When Performing Self-Soft Tissue Work
1) The soft tissue mobility exercises are ONLY as beneficial as the joint mobility work and strengthening that occurs following the soft tissue work. For example, if you foam roll the IT band, it is important to do hip mobility & strengthen the hip muscles afterward to sustain the changes that were made.
2) The amount of pressure applied when using the foam roller, tennis ball, or golf ball does not effect the amount of change in the muscle length. Soft tissue mobilization is beneficial because of the 'neurophysiological effects' a.k.a altering how our brain perceives that region of the body. During soft tissue mobility exercises, area being treated receives a ton of input from the brain allowing that region to be reprogrammed.
3) Discomfort is common during soft tissue mobilization, but pain should not occur. If you experience pain, bruising, or prolonged inflammation, you have likely worked the region to aggressively.