Soft Tissue aspect of Mobility:
Mobility consists of three distinct components: Soft tissue work, stretching and joint mobilization (each of these components has sub components, but we will start with these). Typically with soft tissue work we are focused on two things; myofascial and trigger point release.
We also need to remember prior to digging into this that the ‘cause’ is the riddle that we need to be constantly seeking to solve. That could be a sustained injury, imbalance, form, lack of strength, bio mechanics etc.
What it is: connective tissue providing support and protection that runs all over our body.
Why: these muscles can become restricted due to overuse, injury and inactivity. When they do, inflammation occurs causing the tissue to thicken, which leads to more inflammation and pain.
What is does: brings blood flow to the area which promotes healing, breaks up adhesions, restores elasticity and reduces pain.
Trigger Point Release:
What they are; knots in the muscles.
Why release: think of a bungee cord with a knot in it. These points tend to radiate to other parts of the body ie. Trigger point in trap radiates down the shoulder.
Tools for self myofascial release and Trigger point release:
Myofascial release using a foam roller; Slowly roll a muscle group or area, find a tender spot and a few seconds there, slowly the tension and pain should decrease 5-30 seconds, then move on. Option to add tension ie. Lat rolling and extension of shoulder or arms crossed in front. Adding tension in the muscles being worked on with increase the depth and results.
Trigger point: roll around and if able on the knot – gently – until it releases, usually under 30 seconds. Generally something smaller is used ie. lacrosse ball, acu-ball, etc.
Both can be dealt with by using the ‘tack & stretch’ (tack the area, then contract/release muscle in order to break up any adhesions and restore blood flow)
What not to do:
Roll a joint with a foam roller – use something smaller
Aggravate an already tender area – work around it
Stop because it hurts a bit – discomfort vs. Pain
Before you work out, to release adhesions, bring blood flow into the area, wake up the body. Use a more aggressive roller. I tend to opt for more quickened mobility stretches and dynamic movements vs. too much rolling. ** unless I have a knot or an area that is stubborn that I might try to get it to trigger before my workout. (I find mobility stretches work better then rolling or lacrosse ball techniques prior to my workout)
After you work out, to bring back blood flow into an area, which will speed recovery. During a dedicated mobility work out. Foam rolling and trigger point work is the soft tissue part of a mobility workout. It will leave you feeling tired and worked over. Drink water & rest. You may have soreness the next day.