No one in the world likes to roll out, use massage guns, or stick a pso-rite on themselves more than combat athletes. (Well, maybe cross fitters.) Using these tools in-and-of-itself is not a bad thing. Self-Myofascial Release (the goal of these activities) has been shown to be effective in certain settings. A problem arises when these activities become the only rehabilitation or recovery modalities. If these techniques are so popular – next time you go in the gym, do a quick count of how many people are foam rolling or massage gunning. I bet its at least half – why can’t we use them as they are meant. Foam rolling and massage gunning are short term alleviators, but not long term solutions.
Lets think back to the actual issue, tight muscles. Why are they tight? Are they pissed off? Did you kill them in a work out yesterday? Or maybe they just decided to be tight. But probably not that last one lol.
An easy and sport specific example is hamstring tension and jiu jitsu. If you roll for any extended period of time I’m sure you’ve had back tension that turned into “hamstring tightness”. This typically makes you feel the need to do the forward fold and stretch those bad boys out. I would bet that the problem isn’t actually the hamstrings at all! It’s actually from all of the compression and flexion based loading during bjj that caused disc irritation and thus nerve root irritation. That nerve irritation then travels down the chain through the sciatic nerve and tends to lock muscles up along the way. And do you know what’s even worse? Flexing forward and stretching your hamstrings for this problem typically makes everything worse in the long run!
But, tight muscles are uncomfortable. They don’t seem like protection. “They seem like an inconvenience that goes away when I blast it with the Hypervolt!” I hear you, but if your brain put those tight muscles there, it‘s for a reason. All I argue is that we should try to understand that reason, before we go to town on the pso-rite. After all we might be doing more damage. This is where a professional assessment can help. First, you will find an actual cause for your tight areas. Second, you can game plan an actual strategy to stop them, not just constant foam rolling. Because let’s face it, you wouldn’t have to keep foam rolling the same spot for 6 months straight is that was actually fixing the problem!