The motion of rolling back and forth while using your favorite therapy tool, (often it’s a lacrosse ball) feels superficially good but that technique can only give a circulatory flush to muscles. Frankly, it feels good to start to loosen up tight tissue.
But that technique alone can’t get back the all important Range of Motion in your muscle movement.
It’s all about getting back full ROM that defines your recovery time and readiness for new muscle loading, training and overall use.
Maintaining full muscle ROM means three things:
1. Your muscles return to their natural levels of strength
2. Your muscles return to their natural levels of endurance
3. Your fascia remains pliant and lengthy
Ask any pro athlete why they get a massage every time they can. Their therapist uses two types of techniques: circulatory and ROM-regain. Circulatory massage flushes out the waste products effectively but you need to apply the ROM technique to maximize your recovery and mobility.
There are several names given by medical and sports therapists for what is basically the same technique. Call it by any name, it’s the absolute best to maintain full ROM. Tack (Pin) and Stretch, Active Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, these are the most common names.
Three steps to doing the ROM technique:
1. Find the sore spot (trigger point) while rolling a ball slowly and deliberately over tight muscles, searching for the most painful hidden spots while applying pressure
2. When you find a trigger point, stop rolling and hold direct pressure on that spot to the point of “it-hurts-good” kind of useful pain sensation.
3. While maintaining that feels-good kind of pressure, fully and slowly stretch the muscle that has the trigger point. Your lips should pucker with the pleasant “Ooooo, hurts good” sensation.
If you are massaging your forearm muscles, then the stretch movement will be fully flexing and extending your hand at the wrist, in circular and back-and-forth movements. If you are doing your biceps and triceps, then you’ll move your arm at the elbow to full extension and 45 degree contraction, slowly back and forth.
Become your own therapist by finding an easy-to-use tool to comfortably and accurately apply the ROM technique to yourself. Your arms, hands and elbows will thank your for the rest of your life.