Foam rolling, LAX ball smashing…aka… Self-Myofascial Release, we use it to get rid of adhesions in our muscles and connective tissue. It also increases blood flow to our muscles and helps starts most of us on a path to better mobility, as well as improving performance and aiding in recovery.
That is Unless you take it too FAR…..
Don’t attack directly where you feel pain and here is why.
If you attack an area of inflammation, you are more than likely going to increase that inflammation. Making a slight irritation, even more unbearable.
I have recently had firsthand experience with this. The bottom of my foot was a little tight so I decided to work it for an hour or so. That was my first mistake. I didn’t really attack it, but I did spend some time rolling it with a barbell, golf ball and Lax ball. It was easy because I was standing while working on my computer… multi-tasking. I was getting some extra work in,everything was great it felt awesome. Then about 3 hours later I could not walk. If you saw me at the box the next day I needed a makeshift PVC cane just to get around. It was a mystery, did I have a stress fracture in my foot, maybe it was gout? It couldn’t possibly be from all that awesome mobility work I was doing. In the end, I think I just pissed my foot off with that overzealous mobility session! I attacked a tender area increasing the irritation, causing more inflammation maybe pinching a nerve, who really knows. The following day I was a little better, 2 days later I was completely back to normal.
SO, stay away from those tender areas, go easy on them. Maybe spend 20 seconds lightly working that area, then focus on the surrounding tissue for some relief. Keep your Foam rolling or Lax ball Smashing sessions short. 10-20min total for your entire body, pre and post WOD together! Yep. I’m saying it you don’t need to spend an hour a day on a foam roller. Pick a few areas you know you need to work, alternate the movements from day to day and you will be fine.
Bottom line, Pain decreases performance. So, also stay away from pain before lifting heavy or doing technical movements. Your body only really cares about survival not your 1 RM back Squat. Gutting out that painful foam roller session or LAX ball smash may be counterproductive. It will actually trigger your nervous system to shut down your muscles, in an effort to prevent further damage your body.
Enter the Pain Cave Pre WOD and so much for that new PR.