When you foam roll, it can be somewhat painful. The recommended method is to find your tender spots and hold some pressure for 30 seconds of maximal pain tolerance, or 90 seconds of minimal pain tolerance.
When these muscles are short and tight, they restrict your range of motion at the ankle joint. This interferes with your ability to safely absorb ground impact forces when running.
These forces range from 3 to 5 times your bodyweight with each step. Ideally you will absorb those forces over a longer distance rather than a shorter.
These muscles are located on the outside area of the calf and shin. Tight and short peroneals are a factor in over-pronation, or when the foot rolls in excessively when you walk or run. Roll this muscle group can help keep your foot and ankle in a more neutral position.
The IT band, or illiotibial band, is a common problem area for runners. Tightness in the muscles that attach to this dense band of fiber that runs down the side of your thigh can cause friction and pain on the outside edge of the knee.
Foam rolling this area can provide relief or prevention by inhibiting the tightness in the outside quadriceps and tensor fascia lata.
Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL)
This muscle is a common culprit in IT band issues.
This deep hip rotator can restrict your hip mobility when it’s tight. Lack of hip mobility usually will manifest in lower back or knee pain.
Inner Thigh (Adductors)
Tightness here can cause your knees to collapse inward while squatting and running.
Rolling these muscles will optimize your mechanics to prevent injury and increase efficiency. Efficiency means running faster with greater ease.
These muscles are often tight and short and prone to muscle strains. Rolling these can feel good and allow for better spinal position when bending or lifting.
However, when hamstrings chronically feel tight or strained it’s usually a sign that the hip flexors or quads are tight and need stretching and rolling.
This group of muscle is usually tight and short if you run. If you happen to sit for long periods at work, then it’s probably extremely short and tight, especially the rectus femoris.
Short and tight quads will mess your running up mechanically. They inhibit the gluteal muscles and compromise your stability and propulsion.
Roll the quads often, especially if you are a desk jockey.
These muscle can tighten up if you sit for long periods in poor posture. If your carry that poor sitting posture into your runs, then the problem is compounded. Foam rolling these muscle can give you instant relief.
If your upper back always has knots, then posture is your real problem and will probably improve with frequent pectoral stretching.
Contraindications for Self-Myofascial Release
(Don’t use self-myofascial release if you have the following.)
malignancy, goiter (enlarged thyroid), osteoporosis, osteomyelitis(infection of the bone tissue), eczema and other skin lesions, hypersensitive skin conditions, phlebitis (infection of superficial veins), open wounds, cellulitis (infection of the soft tissue), acute rheumatoid arthritis, healing fractures, obstructive edema, blood clot, advanced diabetes, aneurysm, hematoma or systemic or localized infection, anticoagulant therapy, febrile state, bursitis, advanced degenerative changes, sutures, organ failure, congestive heart failure, bleeding disorders
Source: National Academy of Sports Medicine, Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training
Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, 3e , Thomas W. Myers
Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally, Kelly Starrett and TJ Murphy
Author: Nick Ortego is a health coach specializing in biohacking for runners. He integrates modern methods with the ancient wisdom of yoga to help runners get the most out of every aspect of life. He is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and fascial stretch therapy.
Also check out the Nick Ortego Fitness Youtube channel.
Also check out the Nick Ortego Fitness YouTube channel.