Saturday, July 27, 2013

Self Myofascial Release, IT Band and the Rumble Roller

I have had a number of friends and family (mainly runners) who in the past had mentioned or talked about having problems with their IT Bands.  I really had no clue what they were talking about.  I have never been a distance runner and until I started using Beachbody workout programs I had never pushed very hard to improve my aerobic level.  Honestly, I've always been more of a weightlifter and use to really hate cardio.  But, after completing P90X, thirty days of Insanity: The Asylum Vol. 1 and twenty days of The Asylum Vol. 2, I went to perform the Championship workout (an hour long full body workout and fitness test).  I had done this particular workout twice before and was really looking forward to improving on the fitness test.  However, as I began I noticed pain in(on the outside of) my left knee.

Not only did this pain not go away, but I also had very little to no power to push off with that leg.  I was really worried that there was something seriously wrong with me.  I have had knee pain in the past and had surgery on my right knee many years ago, but the seemly sudden lose of power was very new and puzzling to me.  After looking into my symptoms online, I chuckled a little having finally learned what the Iliotibial or IT Band was and why it was causing me so many issues.  I began researching what I needed to do in order to rehab and overcome my new condition.  Over and over again Rest and Myofascial Release were recommended as being the best treatments.  Due to the fact that I was three-quarters of the way through my workout program, I really didn't want to stop my workouts and rest.  But, I am very glad that I listened to what I had read and the advice of good friends.  I performed only upper body workouts for about 10 days, during which time I also started performing Self Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling).

Luckily for me we had a foam roller in our house that I didn't even know about (thanks Kris), it was a smooth model similar to the one pictured on the left.  After reading up on the subject and watching a few videos I began to work the Vastus Lateralis (outer thigh), the Glutes and also the Tensor Fascia Latae (which includes the IT Band).  After I was done foam rolling, I would then spend time stretching out my posterior chain (calves, hamstrings and glutes).  After just 3-4 days I really felt so much better and wanted to get make to my normal workout program, but I knew that in doing so I would be putting myself at greater risk for further strains or injury.  Since then I've learned the importance of beginning treatment all the way down the kinetic chain and when I now work on loosening up my legs I start with the fascia of the foot and slowly work my way up spending a good amount of time on the Soleus/Gastrocnemius (Calves).  Another change that I have made over time is moving from the smooth foam roller to the Rumble Roller (pictured to the right).  The nubs on this roller act much in the same way as the thumbs of a message therapist/acupressurist, getting deep into the muscle tissue and aiding in the release of any trigger points.  There are many good videos and instruction out there on Myofascial Release, but some of my favorites are from Dr. Mark Cheng.  These videos can be found on his YouTube channel or on the BeachbodyVideo channel as well.

I hope that you will find this information useful and that you'll begin to set time aside for Self Myofascial Release!  Please let me know if you have any questions or would like any more information on anything covered above, including techniques or products.  

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