Self-Myofascial Release & Foam Roll

Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) should be a methodically planned process with a purpose. Going in without a plan or targeting areas of the body that are not tight is a waste of time. I’ve experienced great success incorporating SMR techniques in my warm-up. This video highlights the SMR techniques that have worked, helping me to compete at a high level, release muscle tension and pain, and win the CrossFit Games. Hopefully, this video gives you more ideas, warm ups, and recovery techniques.



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What is Self-Myofascial Release (SMR)? It can be described simply as a self-massage. SMR can release the body in ways traditional stretching can’t. When muscle adhesions form, which are also known as muscle knots, stretching will only increase tissue length above and below the knot. However, SMR techniques will address those knots and release them fairly quickly. The science comes from the tool being used that puts direct pressure on the knot and this will stimulate the muscle and tendon to release. Muscles usually release in about 1 to 4 minutes.

Techniques used:

  1. Long holds (1 to 4 minutes on muscle)
    • Great for overall release
    • Hold area until muscle releases approximately 50% or more
  2. Active ROM (working body through range of movements).
    • Works the sliding surfaces of the body (skin, connective tissue, muscles)
    • Fast and quick release
  3. Activate to relax (3 to 5 seconds muscle activation followed by 3 to 5 seconds relaxed muscle).
    • Great for pinpoint muscle tension
    • Will sometimes get to those deep muscles


Common SMR Tools:

Foam roller

Golf ball,

Baseball, or lacrosse ball


Vibrating tools


Each product is different in size, hardness, and technology and each can offer different stimulus.

  1. Foam rollers (soft, hard, nubs)
    • Great for total body release
    • Used for bigger or broader muscle areas
  2. Small ball (golf ball,)
    • Great for smaller areas of body including arch of foot
    • Good for small direct tension spots
  3. Medium ball (baseball, lacrosse ball)
    • Great for overall body tension
    • Can place more direct pressure on muscles than a foam roller can
  4. Large ball (softball or bigger)
    • Great for stomach muscles
    • Also can be used for bigger muscle groups such as the calves
  5. Vibrating tools
    • Vibration will release muscles quicker
    • Faster tissue release and warmth than all other tools

SMR to Get the Most Out of Your Body

SMR is a valuable technique that can greatly aid in your muscle recovery and warm-ups. Consider adding it to your routine. Also be sure to take a look at the the Maddox Method training methods for more in-depth workout expertise. Follow the Maddox Method on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep connected with all our daily content.

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