This post is part 4 in a 4-part series about Muscle Maintenance. Follow these links for the complete series.
Part 1: Muscle Maintenance: An Often Overlooked Key to Performance
Part 2: How to Choose a Foam Roller
Part 3: How to Use a Foam Roller
As muscle maintenance becomes a part of your daily routine of “work + rest = success,” you’ll want to add a technique known as trigger point release to your toolbox.
Trigger point release exercises work similarly to foam rolling, but they make it easier to isolate and release deeper tissues. You’ll use a Barrel Roller, tennis ball, baseball, AccuStrap or an AccuBall for a series of self-massage exercises that work areas such as your IT (iliotibial) band, thoracic spine, and the bottoms of your feet (see sample exercises at the bottom of this post).
One easy way to incorporate trigger point release exercises into your life is to leave an AccuBall by your bathroom vanity. As you brush and floss your teeth each morning and evening, work your feet with the AccuBall, in effect “flossing” your fascia. This is critical for the health of your feet and lower legs.
Your hands and feet are the most undertreated areas of your body, and yet they’re the most abused. Reflexology researchers believe every part can be traced to a spot on your hands or feet, so working these areas can have total-body benefits. Treat your hands and feet to improve performance, reduce stress, and decrease pain all over.
Start with a morning routine of rolling your feet one at a time for thirty seconds on a baseball, tennis ball, or an AccuBall. Balancing on one foot turns on the hip stabilizers, while rolling the ball in your arch releases the fascia and activates the various trigger points in the foot. It also reinforces the importance of the big toe, which is the trigger to the whole kinetic chain. When you walk, you want to roll over the big toe.
Cody Carter Cody has spent the last 10 years coaching athletes at the youth, high school, competitive, collegiate and professional levels. During that time he has learned from and developed close relationships with some of the best performance specialists in the world. Growing up, he played football, basketball and ran track. He didn't specialize in one sport until college, where he chose to run track as a sprinter and high hurdler for Iowa State University. He has spent his entire performance coaching career in Southern California where he is now a Manager for the EXOS Performance Innovation Team. Now based at SKLZ Headquarters, directly above the EXOS San Diego facility, Cody is able to jump in for the occasional hands-on athlete training session. View all posts by Cody Carter