We talk about foam rolling and myofascial work a lot here at Par4Success and in this article we’re going to go into a little bit on why. A lot of people just beginning a program might find these kinds of exercises very uncomfortable and wonder why they’re doing them, but in this case the phrase “no pain, no gain” really does apply. There are a few goals when doing myofascial work or foam rolling correctly.
First, we want to restore normal tissue dynamics, meaning all of the soft tissue in the area we’re treating is sliding against the rest with as little resistance as possible. If you’ve been injured, or even just worked out a lot, and noticed that your joints aren’t moving the way they normally do, there’s a good chance this is due to tissues getting stuck on each other, limiting the ways you can move. If you’ve seen what’s called a “tack and strip” in your program, we’re trying to find points where this is happening and free up those stuck points. The idea is to pin down one layer of tissue with the foam roller and forcibly move the muscle out from under the point that’s stuck.
The other major way myofascial work can help is if you have trigger points. If you’ve ever massaged a sore or hurting muscle and found that one spot that really makes you jump out of your chair, that’s likely a trigger point. Trigger points occur naturally as we exercise and they’re not uncommon. Essentially, if you think of your muscle fibers as strands of spaghetti, parallel on a plate, a trigger point is a fork coming in and twisting those strands around. It doesn’t actually harm or damage the muscle fibers, and it doesn’t make them shorter, but it does limit how far the muscle fibers can actually move which in turn limits how far you can move. By pinning a trigger point down with a foam roller, you can untie that “knot” in the muscle fibers and restore the muscle to normal working order.
In terms of golf, these are both very important things to look at. Both can limit mobility and even power, which will be very detrimental to your golf game. By keeping your tissue healthy, you can make sure you’re moving at your best and competing at your best.