Enfuse Fitness
(860) 253-9111
786 Enfield St - Enfield, CT 06082
Contact Us

Self Myo-Fascial Release: Basic Techniques & Concepts

EnFuse Staff

Category: Strength & Rehabilitation

Self Myo-Fascial Release: Basic Techniques

Self Myo-Fascial Release (SMR) can be a serve as a therapeutic complement to your warm—up / stretching routine to help relieve muscle tightness and alleviate pain caused by trigger points.  This article will explore basic techniques and concepts associated with this form of self-massage.

As with any of our articles, we encourage you to print them out and take them to the gym with you!  Also, if you ever need support or guidance, please email our team- support@EnFuseFitness.com

The human body has over 500 muscles that are work in concert to help us achieve various life functions each and every day:  walking, sitting, carrying objects, and even holding our head-up straight are only but a few of the tasks that require this concentrated effort from our nervous and muscular system. 

These repetitive actions can cause our muscles to become tight and in some cases hyper-irritable, otherwise known as a trigger points.  Trigger points can become extremely painful if not addressed.  These hyper-irritated points within our muscles may also refer pain to a different regions of the body. 

Note:  Trigger points are a single, localized region in a muscle that is experiencing extreme tightness.  Often, it can radiate pain to broader areas, in many cases quite distant from the trigger point itself.

Trigger points, if not resolved, may lead to long term pain, dysfunction, and postural deficits.  The body tends to adapt compensatory strategies, such as shrugging your upper trapezius (traps) to abduct (raise) your arm rather than using the primary muscles intended to support this action, most notably the supraspinatus and deltoid. 

Furthermore, compensatory strategies, such as the one previously mentioned, may lead to an increased susceptibility to developing additional trigger points due to the added firing of arbitrary muscles.  In time, one may run the risk of developing myo-fascial pain syndrome (MPS);  a condition in which the body develops widespread trigger points of severe intensity.

These bothersome spasms may be alleviated through the proper use of SMR.  The basic premise behind self myo-fascial release is that by applying deliberate, constant pressure with the proper amount of force to the tissue will help resolve a spasm by allowing nutrient rich blood to rush to the target area.  This process is thought to help the tissue elongate and return to its normal state. 

Releasing a trigger point can be done in many ways.

  • Foam Rolling

Foam rolling involves using a solid foam tube placed on the ground.  Body positioning will depend on which body part is experiencing the spasm / discomfort. For example, one would address a trigger point in the hamstrings by placing the foam roll under the back of the leg. 

From here, you distribute your body weight over the foam roll. This technique allows you to apply a large amount of pressure across a globalized area.

Using a slow, deliberate pace, roll your body back and fourth on the foam roll with your hands placed firmly on the ground.  When an area of tenderness presents itself, gently hold static pressure on that spot for 20-30 seconds.

Note:  Several minutes of SMR before and/or after a workout is typically sufficient. 

  • Lacrosse Ball

This method involves a lacrosse ball in place of a foam roller. The same concept is applied with this technique. 

Place the lacrosse ball on the knot / trigger point and redistribute your body weight through that point of contact. 

A Lacrosse Ball may be a good tool to incorporate when trying to address more difficult areas to reach such as trigger points in the pectoralis major (chest muscle).  An implement such as this will allow you to address knots while in a standing position. This can be performed for the same amount of time as was mentioned above.

Note:  This type of SMR needs to be employed with caution; due to the reduced contact area, the pressure applied will be far greater.

  • Additional Tools

There are a variety of tools for myo-fascial release that have been manufactured that you might want to consider adding to your gym bag.  Graston and Hawkgrip are two popular brands that build tools to help alleviate trigger points.

Direct pressure can be applied to the trigger points by simply holding one of these instruments firmly in your hand and rubbing it in multiple directions across the muscle to increase vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) and blood flow locally.  

Lastly, there is concern that self myo-fascial release may decrease the force output generated by the muscles during a workout.  This may be of concern for professional athletes performing at the highest levels of sport; however, for the basic exerciser looking to improve their overall health and wellness and to the best of our knowledge, the rewards of proper SMR seem to greatly outweigh any ‘slight’ deficits in strength / force production one might experience during their workout.

If you would like some support and or guidance incorporating self myo-fascial release into your fitness program, please email- support@EnFuseFitness.com


Medical Disclaimer

THIS SITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE: None of the information on this site is intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. EnFuse Fitness makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Reliance on any information provided by EnFuse Fitness, its employees, others appearing on the site at the invitation of EnFuse Fitness, or other visitors to the site is solely at your own risk. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.


We hope that you find this article helpful! 

Please know that our professional and highly qualified team of coaches and therapists are always here to help- support@EnFuseFitness.com

In Health,
Team EnFuse

EnFuse Fitness, located in Enfield, Connecticut, is a veteran and family owned private personal training studio that offers pilates, massage, meal prep, and nutritional counseling services.

Proudly serving residents of western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut since 2010.

Contact Our Team


Copyright 2017 EnFuse Fitness

All rights reserved

No part of this article may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior written permission from EnFuse Fitness.



Macdonald GZ, Penney MD, Mullaley ME, et al. An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013;27(3):812-821. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e31825c2bc1.

Kalichman L, David CB. Effect of self-myofascial release on myofascial pain, muscle flexibility, and strength: A narrative review. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2017;21(2):446-451. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.11.006.

Southerst D. Myofascial trigger points: pathophysiology and evidence-informed diagnosis and management. Manual Therapy. 2011;16(3). doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.12.004.

The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain (2017). www.PainScience.com. https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php. Accessed June 16, 2017.

What is Myofascial Release? Myofascial Release Treatment Centers & Seminars. https://www.myofascialrelease.com/about/definition.aspx. Accessed June 16, 2017.

"Myofascial trigger point." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.



  1. http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/truth-about-foam-rolling
  2. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/safely-improve-your-shoulder-strength-and-mobility.html
  3. http://www.osrpt.com/physical-therapy/graston-technique/
  4. https://hawkgrips.com/tempWP/product/gold-set-hgg/
  5. http://www.thestick.net

Share this: