Myofascial Release – What IS It?

Do you have lower back pain?

Do you experience knee pain after a workout, run, or after playing sports?

Are you sitting at a desk all day and have noticed your posture could be improved?

You know those people you see at your gym rolling out on a white or black foam roller like it’s a rolling pin?  That foam roller is a key to living injury and pain-free. Below are three essential foam roller exercises but first, let’s talk about what myofascial release is.

First off, fascia supports our bodies as a connective tissue that surrounds and attaches to most structures in the body. From head to foot, every muscle, bone, nerve, and internal organ is covered by fascia. The fascial system is woven together (like a tight knit sweater) and provides support and protection for most structures, ultimately connecting everything in our bodies. In a normal state, fascia is relaxed and has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. Physical trauma, scarring, or inflammation can cause fascia to lose its pliability causing it to be a source of tension in the body. An injury, surgery, constant impact, and even habitual poor posture can cause tension to build up in our fascia. Tense fascia limits flexibility and stability which then inhibits a person’s optimal performance as an athlete or simply decreases a person’s quality of life. Using a foam roller balances and heals the body as it helps release built-up tension.

Below are three foam roller poses and exercises. Keep your roller in your living room or bedroom, and make this healthy habit a daily routine.  With every exercise, be careful getting on and off the roller. Always make sure you are supporting yourself with hands and/or feet on the floor so you do not lose your balance.

1. Modified God/Goddess Pose
Goddess PoseSit on one end of the roller and lay your spine back along the roller.

Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor.

Open your arms out to the side.

Exhale deeply and give into gravity letting your head, shoulders, and back fall into the roller.

Stay here forever.

When you are ready to come back to reality, simply roll off – there’s no graceful way to do it.

This is the perfect way to end a day.

2. IT Band Release
ITBYour iliotibial band (ITB) is the largest tendon in your body. Among other things, it actually connects your quadriceps (thigh muscles) to your femur bone which is the largest
bone in your body. With that said, you may already see the importance of keeping this tendon tension free. A tight IT band can cause knee, back, and hip pain. Runners, cyclers, and other athletes are notorious for having tight IT bands. Rolling out the IT bands is a very odd sensation and may be intense at first.  That “pain” you are feeling is tension stuck in your body. Roll it out, connect with your breath, and exhale the tension OUT of your body.

ITBSit your left hip onto the roller, supporting yourself with your arms.

Drop down onto your left elbow, right hand on the floor.

Extend your left leg and bend your right knee keeping that foot on the floor.

Roll on the side of your left leg, directly on the IT band, from your hip all the way to the top of your knee.


Repeat about 5 times.

Stop on the place where you feel the most tension and stay there (breathing) for 30 seconds.

Roll up and down 2 more times then repeat on the right leg.
One leg will be tighter than the other. Hopefully you started with the most tense leg making the second leg feel like a piece of cake.

Notice how you feel more loose and flexible after executing this exercise.

This is not always an easy release technique so thank yourself for doing it.  Good Job!

3. Lower Back/Sacral Release
Sacral ReleaseSit on the roller, leaning back enough so you can support your upper body by placing your hands on the floor behind the roller.

Be careful not to sink into your shoulder joints.

Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor.

Roll forward getting into your sacrum (the flat boney area) and lower back.

Shift to one side rolling back and forth.

Switch sides.

Get your 36×6 inch round foam roller from

I will be sharing a video soon with instruction on rolling out your glutes and piriformis, as well as using the roller for a stronger core.

Questions about this? Never hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

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