Thursday, February 19, 2009

SMR, The Musical Stretch: The More You Roll The More You Bitch!

Below: Alex "boss Poss" Possamai (aka my new boss!) and me rippin' it up at his new CrossFit Bolton location!

Unless you want "boner legs," I suggest you utilize some type of roller, especially after doing the above pictured workout: Renegades of Squats!

Ok, so I'm the first to admit that I don't stretch. I haven't ever since I was a kid in ballet class. Anytime the stretching component of the class came up, I'd sit and wait until everyone was finished. Why? Because I was as flexible as an HB number two pencil. Not stretching class after class was making it worse, but how was I to know that at the tender age of six? Gimme a break!

I came to the sudden realization that I was the most non-flexible person I knew when I had visited a friend's affiliate, Conker Fitness in Oakville, to do a WOD with the affiliate owner Jeff Morey and CrossFit Niagara affiliate owner Mark Gleason (two VERY awesome guys, by the way). Upon completing the workout, both Jeff and Mark encouraged me to use what I now refer to as "the death roller." It looked simple enough, and even quite relieving and soothing at first glance! But after being given instructions on how to use it and applying those instructions, I realized I was utterly deceived.


Honestly, how the HELL do people put up with the pain from this cylindrical death-like contraption? Am I just really that big of a wuss or is it one of the most painful things in the world?

Well, there is a purpose for it, and we should all begin doing it on a regular basis.

Basically, when we are using these 'foam rollers,' what we are doing is what is known as SMR (Self-Myofascial Release). The body naturally performs myofascial release, but adding the 'S' component to the 'M' and the 'R' means YOU need to actively participate!

Let's dig deeper into the "fibers" of SMR...

Simply put, this definition of Myofascial Release states that "it is a form of soft tissue intended for pain relief, increasing range of motion and balancing the body" ( So basically, the purpose of "Self" Myofascial Rlease is to speed up the process of regaining flexibility and range of motion , as well as alleviating any pains from the previous workouts, by untangling the fascia.

During a workout, your muscle fibers are put under a lot of strain, as described by the tangling of the fibers, which is subsequently the after effects of a workout. During MR and SMR "The fascia is manipulated, directly or indirectly, supposedly to allow the connective tissue fibers to reorganize themselves in a more flexible, functional fashion" (Ibid). Who knew muscles were that smart?!

Now if only it didn't hurt so damn much...

The process of SMR is quite the painful one, and only the strongest of strong can actually grin and bear the pain administered by "the death roller." I am going to go out later this afternoon and purchase a foam roller for myself, because after yesterday's workout, I've realized it is definitely an important step to recovery.

There are different varieties of rollers you can buy, ranging from hardness of roller to thickness of roller, to shape of roller. Here is a link for you to check out for the different varieties of rollers. Enjoy, and get rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'!


  1. oh baby that foam roller, it hurts so good!!@$%$@!

  2. I'm very nervous about using it tonight! VERY!!!

  3. if it really hurts that bad, I think you should hit even more;

    it sounds like you got some soft tissue stuff going on, if the foam roller is that tough and you feel that inflexible.

    Get a massage?

    Cool blog.

  4. Thanks Jason :)

    It did hurt bad, but I think it's because I've never had a massage in my life, and I'm a big sissy. I must be the only person who doesn't enjoy them!

    I am using the foam roller on a regular basis now, and it's already helping. I'm going to incorporate a lot more stretching as well.

  5. I read this awhile ago and thought "man, it's just a foamy thing. It can't hurt that bad."
    Then I did Murph on Sunday and Andrew had a foam roller at CFK, so I figured I'd try it out... and you were right. Hurts like a bitch!

    I think I remember seeing something on your FB page about some CF competition in Ontario this summer? been trying to find it, but can't hunt it down.

  6. Ha! Hurts now, but you'll hurt less in the long run :)

    Yes Dave!!!! CrossFit Ontario Challenge! I'll message you via Facebook about it. Sorry for the delayed reply; this thing doesn't send me notifications!