Walk into any gym these days and you will come across people rolling on foam-rollers, grimacing with pain. But why has foam-rolling become so popular and does it actually work? The marketing of foam rollers claims that they are effective for fascia release and will therefor help prevent injuries and improve performance.

Does it actually release fascia?

From a manual point of view, pure rolling over a foam roller does not cause any movement between fascia layers, which is essential for the release of fascia densification.
However, by pressing down on a roller, and thereby gripping the superficial fascia layers (and the skin), while moving the muscle underneath these layers, will definitely encourage movement between the layers, releasing fascia.

How do you know if it your technique is working – or not?

It is possible to determine if you have actually improved the mobility of the fascia and at the same time your functional mobility.
In the Lyno® Method we measure the range of motion before and after fascia releases. And if there is no measurable difference in mobility, we claim that the technique of release was unsuccessful.

Test It!

One of the very famous foam-roller releases is that of the ITB. Athletes position themselves with the lateral aspect of the thigh on the roller and then roll up and down over the roller.

The Lyno® test for the ITB is as follows:

The client lies on his back. Lift the one leg from the mat or table, high enough to allow the other leg to move underneath. Hold the ankle of the bottom leg in the neutral position and then move the leg across (into adduction) until you feel the fascia end-feel (the skin goes tight).

Measure in degrees how far the leg can move across. The normal range is 30°.

Note down your measurement and then do your foam rolling. Re-measure afterwards. If your roll-technique is effective, your mobility will increase after the rolling.
NOTE!! If your mobility was already 30° or even more, the fascia in that area is not restricted and rolling will be a waste of time.

Are you releasing the tightest areas?

Most of the athletes who complain of chronic niggles and injuries, roll muscles (or fascia) that are fully mobile, but they ignore the areas where the fascia is actually locked. And the reason for that is that people roll where they think it is tight.

Before you waste your time on rolling and subject yourself to a lot of unnecessary pain, make sure that you know where to roll and that your technique is effective. That way you will not only solve your injury issues but also improve your performance.

How will I know where to release?

Recurring injuries are always caused by restricted movement in areas remote to the problem. This means for example that a locked shoulder could be the reason for a chronic Achilles injury. By rolling or releasing the fascia around the painful area, you may get temporary relief, but you will not solve the problem.

The only way to do effective fascia release is to first do a full-body assessment of fascia mobility to determine where you should be doing the releases.
Do not waste your time on ineffective techniques.

The Lyno Academy

Focus on the cause, not the symptom!

To learn where the fascia is locked and how to resolve recurring injury issues, join a Lyno® fascia course near you.

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