What do Boxing, Olympic, MMA, and professional athletes all have in common? The majority of them have dedicated their entire lives to their craft, and most of them work out multiple times a day. How are they able to maintain such a high level of performance every day? It all comes down to one word: Recovery.
Recovery is just as important, if not more so than working out. LeBron James spends $1.5 million annually on all things recovery: diet, trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. You name it, he probably does it. While the majority of us could never imagine investing that much money on recovery, something as inexpensive as a $12 tool can get you started on the right path to recovering stronger. Here’s where foam rolling, percussion tools, and self-myofascial release therapy come into play.
All of these recovery techniques have specific intentions and benefits. FightCamp Trainers Aaron, Coach PJ, and Jess break down some of the basics when it comes to great recovery therapies, especially foam rolling, a type of self-myofascial release.
What Is Self-Myofascial Release Therapy?
Self-myofascial release technique (SMR), uses your body weight to exert pressure on muscles with small repetitive movements on a hard surface, like a foam cylinder or foam roller. Basically, think of self-myofascial release as a kind of deep tissue massage. There are also percussion tools available like Theragun and Hyperice Hypervolt that use a percussion-like motion to break up muscle fascia and stimulate blood flow.
Why Should I Do Self-Myofascial Release For Recovery?
Some of the main reasons why you may want to start utilizing these self-myofascial release tools for recovery are simple. A lot of us spend a great deal of time sitting–whether at our desks, at work, or in the car. We start to develop “knots” in our muscles that can lead to aches and pain. These knots are adhesions in the fascia. Foam rolling can help us “roll out” these knots and break them up.
Relieves muscle tightness
Relieves soreness and inflammation
Increases joint range of motion
Types of Self-Myofascial Release Tools
There are many different types of self-myofascial release tools on the market, but it all comes down to one goal: Help you become a better athlete. These tools come in all sizes, materials, densities, degrees of softness, grips, traction, and textures. They all help with flexibility and range of motion, with the ultimate goal of relieving muscle pain and soreness. Here are a few of our recommendations:
Standard Foam Rollers
Coach PJ recommends starting out with a softer foam roller with more give to allow you to get used to and comfortable with rolling
Over time, you can move on to something denser, depending on your needs (e.g. PVC pipe is cheap and as dense as it gets)
Textured Foam Rollers
Help grind and dig into deeper muscles compared to normal foam rollers
Do not slip as easily when rolling
Examples include percussion spheres or lacrosse balls
Smaller surface area allows for working on small, targeted knots
Commonly used in Trigger Point Therapy (similar concept as self-myofascial release)
Great for tricky spots, such as the feet, neck, and hips
Vibration Foam Rollers
Have the dual benefit of vibration and pressure to stimulate blood flood and reach deeper into muscles
Handheld tools that use percussion vibrations to break up fascia
Best if tight on time
Come with multiple speed settings, attachments, and levels
Where Should You Self-Myofascial Release?
To keep the answer simple, everywhere. If you have time, perform SMR on your entire body. But if you’re in a time crunch, here are our top 10 body parts to focus on:
Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
Note: Start incorporating these different areas. For example, try cycling through them on different days, i.e. lower body one day, upper body the next, especially if you do total body workouts or boxing/kickboxing training.
Hurts So Good
Self-myosfascial release is essential to proper recovery, and it is truly the best way to elevate your boxing or kickboxing game. Better recovery = better sessions the next time in the gym. You want to be able to train hard, and that means you need to recover (harder)!
It may take some time to get used to prioritizing recovery just as you prioritize your workout, but once you start, you'll never train without these tools.
Are you ready to train (and recover) like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.