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Foam Rolling Techniques: 4 Steps

Different foam rolling techniques: Why the fuss?

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Different foam rolling techniques: Why the fuss? It seems as though the best way to foam roll is in the name—roll. Rolling back and forth does have some merit and support from the scientific community. In a recently published review of foam rolling, Kalichman and David (2017) examined 42 studies on foam rolling that revealed only a few different techniques being used. The most common was to roll the length of a chosen muscle for a set time. Between one to two minutes was the most common time and participants usually rolled to the beat of a metronome for consistency. Another common technique to use is to “knead” the muscle by performing small back-and-forth motions along the length of the muscle. The last frequently used method, which only appears to show up with foam rolling devices that aren’t actually rollers (e.g., Thera-cane) was to hold pressure on a tender spot. All of these techniques appear to work well at either improving range of motion or decreasing pain.

In another review, Cheatham and colleagues (2015) concluded that there is no current consensus on foam rolling programs. Some studies roll at a slow pace for around two minutes, while others roll so quickly the researchers have to build special devices to hold the roller for only a few seconds! It’s true, Sullivan and colleagues (2013) constructed a device to hold a massage stick. Weights were added for pressure, a metronome was set to 120 beats per minute (that’s rolling the length of the muscle twice in one second), and the hamstrings were rolled for all of five seconds. Three other groups rolled for longer, but no group rolled more than ten seconds. All groups improved range of motion! However, the groups that rolled for longer experienced more improvements and their changes lasted a few minutes longer. Most people agree that rolling is beneficial, but how long should you roll and should you do anything more than simply roll up and down the length of the muscle?

To get a grasp on the origins of foam rolling, we need to go back many years. Depending on what you read, you’re likely to see statements that foam rolling was started by a gymnastics coach, a physical therapist, or the Greek Goddess Aphrodite (Aprhos is Greek for “foam”). (Okay, I’m sure no one ever thinks of the Goddess of Love when foam rolling.) No one knows exactly who started the foam rolling revolution, but we do know that foam rolling began as a way to mimic massage. As a massage therapist, I am aware that a foam roller will never replicate what I can do with my hands. However, it does serve as a suitable alternative for daily use. The big “miss” is that massage incorporates moving from origin and insertion of a muscle as only one of a variety of techniques. Swedish Massage (which can be considered basic) includes five traditional strokes: a) effleurage (gliding); b) petrissage (kneading); c) friction (cross friction); d) tapotement (percussion); and e) vibration (small shaking movements) (Salvo, 2007). If you want to maximize your foam rolling results, try to include different movements into your foam rolling regimen. While not all of the five strokes are easy to replicate with a foam roller, several are possible.

When pressure is applied to muscles, fluid is displaced to another area (much like squeezing a water balloon). When the pressure is removed, fresh fluid and nutrients rush back into the area (Schleip, et al., 2012). Adding additional movements and stretching forces into the area when the pressure is applied can help to maximize the benefit of fluid and nutrient replacement and improve overall movement. Follow the simple four step formula below to ensure you’re making the most of your daily foam rolling.

  1. Search—use the foam roller to slowly (about 1 inch per second) roll the length of the muscle. This gets the muscle prepped, increases circulation, and helps to identify tender spots (adhesions, trigger points, knots)
  2. Destroy—hold pressure on 2-3 of the most tender spots along the length of the muscle. A “tender spot” is something you would rate as a 6-8 on a pain scale of 1-10
  3. Mobilize—while holding pressure, perform a movement different than rolling up and down. Try a cross friction, which is performed by shifting the muscles across the roller. The roller should be made with a surface that will grip the clothing or skin to allow a dragging force to be created (not PVC pipe). Father of Orthopaedic Medicine, James Cyriax stated that cross friction is the best method to reduce adhesions and scar tissue and to restore movement to the muscles (Cyriax, 1982). Another great technique to incorporate is “pin-and-stretch.” Pin-and-stretch is very similar to wringing out a wet towel. While still holding pressure on the roller, move the joint just on the opposite side of the roller. For example, when rolling the calf muscles, perform ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion movements; if rolling the quadriceps or the hamstrings, perform knee flexion and extension.
  4. Flush—finally, finish up by performing a few slow rolling motions to flush out the area. This would be similar to step 1, rolling about an inch per second, but roll the entire length of the muscle and don’t worry about stopping on tender spots.

When rolling to increase the length of a muscle that has been identified as short, follow up with function. Studies have suggested that static stretching after foam rolling is the best way to increase the flexibility (Skarabot, et al., 2015). Additionally, adding length to tight spots doesn’t guarantee optimal function. Vincent et al. (2013) found that for both acute and chronic pain, individuals should follow up with exercise. A few basic exercises concentrated on strengthening weak muscles and total body movements will ensure you and your clients coordinate that newly found mobility into daily activities!

For a more extensive list of foam rolling techniques, strategies, and to find an NASM CEU Approved foam rolling course near you, visit TriggerPoint’s Education page.

 

 

See Kyle Stull live and in person at NASM Optima 2017 as he presents: TriggerPoint Myofascial Compression Techniques for Injury Prevention and Better Movement

 

 

 

References

Cheatham, S.W., Kolber, M.J., Cain, M., & Lee, M. (2015). The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: A systematic review. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 10(6), 827-838.

Cyriax, J. (1982). Textbook of orthopaedic medicine: Diagnosis of soft tissue lesions (Vol. 1.). London: Elsevier.

Kalichman, L., & David, C.B. (2017). Effect of self-myofascial release on myofascial pain, muscle flexibility, and strength: A narrative review. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 21, 446-451.

Salvo, S.G. (2007). Massage Therapy: Principles and Practices (3rd Ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier.

Schleip, R., Duerselen, L., Vleeming, A., Naylor, I.L., Lehmann-Horn, Zorn, A., et al. (2012). Strain hardening of fascia: Static stretching of dense fibrous connective tissue can induce a temporary stiffness increase accompanied by enhanced matrix hydration. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 16, 94-100

Skarabot, J., Beardsley, C., & Stirn, I. (2015). Comparing the effects of self-myofascial release with static stretching on ankle range-of-motion in adolescent athletes. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 10(2), 203-212.

Sullivan, K.M., Silvey, D.B., Button, D.C., & Behm, D.G. (2013). Roller-massager application to the hamstrings increases sit-and-reach range of motion within five to ten seconds without performance impairments. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 8(3), 228-236.

Vincent, K., Maigne, J., Fischhoff, C., Lanlo, O., & Dagenais, S. (2013). Systematic review of manual therapies for nonspecific neck pain. Joint Bone Spine, 80(5), 508-515.

Source http://blog.nasm.org/

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Health & Fitness

How To Create Your Own No-Guilt Travel Workout

I like looking at training problems from angles most people don’t think of

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I like looking at training problems from angles most people don’t think of – until they come up, of course. Take your typical travel workout, for example. The usual articles focus on killer bodyweight workouts in idyllic settings. But how often do you have a perfect gym while you travel? How often are you actually motivated to do any exercise? And how often do any of those travel workouts resemble what you do at home? Hardly ever, in my experience. I find that there are two main roadblocks to travel workouts: equipment and motivation. Let’s talk about jumping over these hurdles, and then I’ll tell you how to create your own perfect travel workout.

Mastering Motivation
Most travel workouts feed fears that if you don’t train while you’re away, you’ll lose all your. But I prefer to look at it from a more positive spin: If I work out while I travel, it will be much easier to bounce back when I get home. I found this out firsthand when I took two back-to-back trips over the holidays.

Training to Bounce Back
Normally, if I’m traveling for a week or less, I couldn’t care less about missing lifting sessions. I see it as a chance to let my body recover because I rarely miss a session at home. But two weeks is a long time to do nothing. Once you get into the 2-3 week range, it could take several weeks to bounce back. When you come back to lifting after a layoff, you have to back up a few steps. If you don’t lower the weight and decrease the volume upon returning, it’s very easy to find yourself with a pulled muscle or worse. This has happened to me on a number of occasions (see my tips for avoiding this below). I’ll add that sometimes you have to force yourself to train when you travel. You do it even though it feels like shit at first, and then it’s easier once you get started. Put on your clothes and shoes, pull out your resistance band or whatever meager equipment you have, and just do it. (Never was there a more apt marketing slogan.)

Equalizing Equipment
Recently, I stayed at a hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that had a full gym and even a personal trainer. I was in pure nirvana.

But this isn’t going to happen every time you travel. In fact, it varies wildly from hotel to hotel.

The solution is to make equipment a secondary concern. Instead of focusing on what equipment you might have (it’s often unknown), focus on your goals. Do you want to maintain your strength or cardiovascular endurance? Make it easier to return to the gym when you get back? Stay regular? (A valid goal if there ever was one.) Once you know your exact goal, you’ve got everything you need.

Creating A Successful Travel Workout
Traveling isn’t the best time to start a whole new style of training. Improvise on what you normally do with quick workouts that deliver a nice burn. It also helps enormously to plan what you’ll do ahead of time. Write it down or put it in your phone before you leave (you’ll thank me). Just remember your goals.

Full Body Works Best
A full-body workout is perfect for traveling because you get a lot of bang for your buck. A 30-60 minute workout that trains your whole body might even feel more challenging to you than your usual training split. During the two weeks, I was Texas and Mexico, I did three full-body workouts. I was pleased with this and felt it helped me come back strong when I got home. (I didn’t train at all the first week and it didn’t affect my strength.)

I normally do upper/lower body workouts, so I enjoyed the noticeable challenge of full-body workouts. I ended up doing more volume than I’d do at home because I trained each muscle three times instead of twice.

How to Create Your Own Full-body Travel Workout
here are certain things that will give you more bang for your buck in a travel workout. You may not think of it once you get there, so plan ahead.

  • Supersets. Doing two exercises back-to-back lets you save time, burn more calories, and get stronger. To increase the calorie burn, rest as little as possible between exercises.
    Examples:
    • Hamstrings/glutes and quads (hamstring curl and reverse lunge)
    • Chest and back (chest press and bent-over row)
    • Anterior and posterior shoulders (overhead press and rear delt raise)
    • Chest and shoulders (push-ups and lateral raise)
    • Calves and abs (standing calf raise and plank)
    • Biceps and triceps (cross-body curl and overhead extension)

You can do any of these exercises with either a band or dumbbells. Or if you don’t have any equipment, do push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and bodyweight lunges, squats, and hip thrusts.

  • Low-risk exercises. You don’t want to strain your low back or pull a groin muscle on vacation. Risky exercises for your low back include deadlifts, good mornings, and even barbell squats. Bent-over rows can tweak your back too. If it feels iffy, don’t do it. If you feel strong and like your normal self, go for it. You might want to avoid upright rows, too, or any other shoulder exercise that might get wonky. Keep your form pristine and don’t rush.
  • Back-healthy exercises. Do face pulls, cobras, scapular retraction, and any other exercise to strengthen your upper back. Bunching up in planes and over pina coladas can tighten you up good.
  • Core activation exercises. Get more bang for your buck by doing exercises that engage your core big time. Unilateral, full-body, or standing exercises will do the trick. Think squat to presses, lunges, single-leg planks, or military presses.
  • Unilateral exercises. It’s always smart to do exercises one leg or arm at a time to improve your balance and stability. But unilateral exercises are especially useful if you don’t have access to heavier dumbbells. Do lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and single-arm presses and rows. 

Don’t forget to warm up thoroughly, either on a cardio machine or with dynamic warm-up exercises.

Two Ready-Made Workouts
Here are two workouts I created that can work while traveling:

I bet you hadn’t thought of some of these tips, had you? Now go enjoy yourself and come home feeling strong.

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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LynxMode

Love is Fattening 

Savannah Lynx

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Photos by Ludwig Araujo Photography

It’s Tuesday night and I’ve run out of toilet paper. Walking the two and a half blocks to my neighborhood CVS, I step inside and chuckle smilelessly, eyeballing the egregiously festive decor glued to every visible surface. Visually wading through an explosion of vulgar red and pink balloons, I-love-you candies, cards, and toothy grins stapled to a dozen googly-eyed teddybears, I deduce that Valentine’s Day is near. To be honest, I’ve always loved the way CVS really goes for that holiday spirit, celebrating whatever cause for celebration is around the corner. Be it Christmas, Fourth of July, National Pizza Month, or Arbor Day, I can always rest assured that my go-to convenience store will have whatever needless thing I need to purchase. And so, as I swim through boxes of disgusting SweeTarts and funny faced stuffed animals, I begin to think of what a funny thing it is to be in love.

Now take it from me, I love love.  I can fall faster, get higher, and heartbreak harder than anyone I’ve ever met.  If there were a Love Olympics, there’s no question I’d win every event…and I mean every (wink wink). But I digress… the funny thing about being in love, is that it changes who you are. Being in love actually induces a shift in your brain chemistry, and sometimes, that’s not a good thing.  While you’re enjoying an afternoon delight or midnight snuggle sesh, your brain is flooding you with dopamine, serotonin, and all those warm fuzzy feelings that everyone’s a sucker for. So what’s the problem?  In my personal experience, the problem with love is that it plays a huge role in determining my diet and exercise regiment, and consequently, my body weight. Let’s review what I call the Six Phases of Love.

First, there’s Phase 1. You’re newly in love, on a constant adventure, and your gut is filled with butterflies and nervous energy.  This is the stage where you don’t even think about food since your stomach is full of that chaotic frenzy that runs on empty.

Next, there’s the Settle Down Phase. This is the moment when the initial euphoria starts wearing off and you’re able to revert back to normal eating habits and workouts.  Things seem stable for a moment, but soon enough, you’ve entered stage three.

pillow talk 💭💭 @fitnessgurls @ludwigaraujo

A post shared by Savannah Lynx (@savannahlynx) on

Also known as the Sitting On the Couch Watching TV Phase, this is perhaps the most dangerous phase of them all.  This my friends are where we gain what’s referred to as Happy Weight. Slightly reminiscent of the Freshman Fifteen, Happy Weight is the extra ten or so pounds you pack on in the haze of love’s nonjudgmental embrace.  You’ve established your love for one another, so the extra weight doesn’t bother either of you. However, after some time, you realize that you’ve totally replaced all your good health habits with Chex Mix and microwave pizza thingies. It’s at this phase where you decide to get back into shape or not. If you decide to keep the extra weight, there might still be hope for you if you decide to break up. In the last three optional stages of the breakup, we experience the What Do I Do Now Phase, Post Breakup Regulation Phase, and finally, the Revenge Body Phase.

People experience the What Do I Do Now Phase in two opposing ways. After a breakup, some are simply too depressed to eat, and unhealthily lose all their Happy Weight in a tidal wave of despair. Others prefer to drown out their emotions with boxes of sad, half-eaten chocolates, ice cream, or any kind of carb that can be delivered straight to the door.

Once the initial blow of love lost has subsided, the Post Breakup Regulation Phase kicks in, thus inspiring the “I’ll show him” mentality. This is where we get back to homeostasis and return to our diet and exercise routine PB (pre-boyfriend).

Finally, this brings us to the Revenge Body Phase. Because we all secretly crave the self-satisfaction of running into an ex-looking impossibly stunning, we prepare for this chance encounter by hitting the gym extra hard and eating super clean.

In summation, love takes a toll not just on our hearts, but our bodies, too. Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s attack the root of this all. which is none other than OUTSIDE INFLUENCE.

If you’re dating someone in the fitness industry, you know it’s easier to stay on track with your diet and exercise goals with him than with someone who’s a couch potato, but even then, things change when there’s a new person in your life.  Personally speaking, in the last year of my relationship I gained 10 pounds of happy weight, then lost 15 because I looked down and said in the wise words of Regina George, “sweatpants is all that fits me right now.” At first, it was hard to stick to my diet goals when he would eat everything I couldn’t, and who wants to be annoying and awkward saying “I can’t have that I’m on a diet.” Ew. Not to mention, my boyfriend loves me regardless of my weight, and I felt a bit silly trying to slim down when he couldn’t care less. But a true support system will support your decisions to be a better you 100% of the time, and so he encouraged me to go to the gym on days I didn’t feel like it. I’m happier than ever with him, but I’ve been able to lose the weight I put on in the beginning because I stuck to my goals and he helped me reach them.

It’s hard enough as it is to navigate your way to a fitter you, but it’s double the struggle when you’ve met someone you want to spend all your time with. In love or simply out with friends, peer pressure eating and habits are tough to get over. My solution? Be aware of the phases of love and always be mindful of where you are in your personal journey. Nevertheless, it’s totally OK to gain some happy weight!!! Don’t stress yourself with life’s fluctuations. If you’re lucky enough to be in love, enjoy it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Workout Wednesday

Jade Atkinson’s Full Body & Core Workout

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How would you like to look and feel your best? Get in fabulous shape with one of the most beautiful and inspiring fitness leaders, Jade Atkinson. Her workout, emphasizing the upper body, legs, and midsection, is sure to leave you invigorated and on your way to a fittest and appealing look. If you’ve been searching for a high-intensity, fat-burning, muscle-toning workout, look no further. Jade has it right here for you. Leading you through a no-nonsense yet eminently doable set of exercises, you will notice and feel the difference right away.

Get Jade’s Last Article: Jade Atkinson’s Upper Body Conditioning & Abs Workout

Jade Atkinson's Full Body

1Circuit 1

3-4 Rounds, 60-75 second break
KB swings x20
Miller plank x pushup x20
Squat to press x15
Sled sprint x2 laps or 20 steps
Ball slams x15

2Circuit 2

3-4 Rounds, 60-75 second break
Push up x20
Low plank jumping jack x20
Db curl to Press x10
DB military Press x10
One arm kb swing x15/arm

3Core

4 Rounds, 30-45 second break
Elbow to Toe Crunch x15/side
Weighted jackknife x15
Decline bench leg raises x15
Cork Screw x20

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