Foam rolling and other forms of Self-Myofascial-Release (SMR) are quickly becoming a staple in training programs worldwide. Do you know why?
While you’ve probably never heard of your Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) before. It’s the key part of anatomy that makes foam rolling effective. The GTO is a mechano-receptor found at the muscle-tendon junction; for lack of a better description, it tells us the level of tension within the muscle/tendon group.
When tension increases to the point of high risk of injury (e.g., tendon rupture), the GTO signals to the muscle spindles to relax the muscle in question. Essentially SMR/foam rolling works by stimulating the GTO to relax the muscle.
While stretching will improve the length of the muscle, SMR and massage work to adjust the tone of the muscle.
Other deep-tissue modalities like deep tissue massage and active release technique (ART) are well recognized for the value of eliminating adhesions and scar tissue. Unfortunately, from both a financial and convenience standpoint, we can’t all expect to get ART or massage done on a frequent basis.
SMR on the foam roller offers an effective, inexpensive, and convenient way to both reduce adhesion and scar tissue accumulation on a daily basis. Just note that like stretching, and weight training foam rolling doesn’t yield marked improvements overnight; you’ll need to be diligent and stick with it.