The act of working out, however that may look for you, requires a tremendous amount of physical effort and energy output that challenges you with regards to how much self- induced stress you can handle. If your tolerance for pain is high, then you can inflict a lot of damage to your body in one workout. If it is low, you're still doing damage but on a lesser scale. Regardless of where you fit within these parameters, one thing is for sure; your body needs extra help to repair damaged muscles, expedite the recovery process and keep you healthy so that you can push hard each and every day. This is where physical therapies fit into your life. Sometimes the damage you do while working out goes further than just the micro tears we are after. Joint pain, muscle tightness that doesn't go away, nagging inflammation and so on can build up and impede our progress. So what do we do if this occurs? Well, you can either make an appointment with a physical therapist, massage therapist, active release specialist or any of the other ones that exist or you can do it yourself. The following are two tools that you can bring with you in your gym bag everywhere you go that will elicit incredible results when used on a regular basis.
This one is about as easy as it gets with an incredible rate of return for improving muscle pain and tightness. Having a foam roller or a rubber roller or one that has a bunch of notches and bumps on it is great for digging into sticky muscles. All you have to do is use your body weight as the pressure and simply roll on top of it in the desired area. By moving your body back and forth over top of the roller, you are breaking up any adhesions that can build up in the muscle tissue as a result of those micro tears. When those micro tears heal and hypertrophy sets in, it also comes along with little bits of scar tissue. This is what binds the muscle tissue together and makes the muscle less viable for working the way it's supposed to work. Try the roller on your lower back, your quads, your hamstrings and your calves (these just happen to be my favourite areas to use it on) and you'll see just how useful it is.
Therapy #2: Lacrosse Ball
Sometimes using the roller isn't enough and you need something with a little more precision to attack a smaller, more specific area of the body. Or perhaps you need to really dig down deep into the crevices of your muscles or where the muscle separations occur and the size of the roller just won't cut it. That's when a good old lacrosse ball comes in handy. A lacrosse ball is just about the perfect size to meet the demands of precision and it is hard enough that it can really dig into the muscles. Along with the fact that it's round in shape allows for you to again roll around on it in any direction to help loosen up those muscle adhesions. Second to this, if you have a training partner who is willing to help you out, they can also apply the lacrosse ball to the areas of concern with again even more precision. I have to warn you, this one can really hurt but in a great way.
These two ways of performing physical therapy on yourself are so easy to use, so easy to keep on your person and so effective that I believe everyone should have these tools in their gym bag. If you use them daily, you'll notice the benefits of doing so right away. You can use them before the gym, during your workout, after your workout or while you're doing some retail therapy and purchasing a pair of the new #MyHeyday Super Shift Bodybuilding Sneakers.
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.