The Foam Roller Isn’t Doing What You Think It’s Doing.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing anything.
If you’ve made to a gym or dance studio, oh, anytime in the past decade you’ve probably noticed a not insignificant number of people sitting on white plastic cylinders. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself. This practice is, of course, foam rollingand involves placing your body’s weight onto specially designed, usually plastic implements and slowly rolling over ‘knots’ and ‘tight’ areas in musculature. It has become pervasive in gyms and rehabilitation clinics recently, but has been a common practice for dancers for much longer. The fancy technical name for the foam rolling is self-myofascial release (SMR) and it’s basically a form of self-applied tissue massage. Implements are not limited to the common rollers but to all manner of hard tools, some specially intended for the purpose and others like basketballs and golf balls, decidedly not.
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The IT Band is a broad, flat sheet of connective tissue that runs from the lateral side of ilium (hip bone) down the outside of the leg to the tibia (lower leg). This tissue serves as a tendon for the Tensor Fascia Lata muscle as well as the Gluteus Maximus muscle. In addition, the IT Band serves as a passive restraint for lateral forces to the hip and knee joints.
IT Band Muscles: The Tensor Fascia Lata muscle has two divisions (the anterior, posterior fibers), while the Gluteus Maximus muscle has three divisions (the iliac, the sacral, and coccygeal fibers). When all divisions of these two muscles are strong, movements of the hip and knee can be performed more easily, efficiently, and pain-free. The resulting pull on the Ilio-Tibial Band will be appropriately directed and this can provide a great amount of stability to the hip when performing such movements as hip flexion, extension, abduction and internal/ external rotation.
Conversely, a loss of stability (weakness) in any of the muscles that pull on the Read the rest of this entry