If It Hurts Just Put Your Balls On It! Part III


All right, it’s time to finish up this series on how to clean up muscle tightness and dysfunction issues using Self-myofascial Release (SMR).

*****For an idea of what SMR is check out the first post in the series here. To learn a couple of quick lower body techniques that will have your back and knees feeling better go for the second article here.*****

As I went over in those two posts, SMR is pretty awesome for working on the big muscle groups of the lower body and fixing a lot of issues. What most people don’t know is that you can do it on the upper body as well and really get into some tight spots that can result in shoulder, elbow, or neck pain, headaches, and general a lack of growth and mobility.

That’s right, if a muscle isn’t operating properly it will have a hard time exerting its full strength and growing. Since the name of the iron game is getting bigger and stronger you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you allow something like chronically tight muscles to hold you back.

If this kid keeps this posture we might as well just hand him a loaded pistol and leave the room.

Tight, small, slope-shouldered, and weak is no way for a man to go through life, my friend.

Rolling Out the Triceps: A lot of elbow pain can come from trigger points and knots in the triceps. These knots pull and constrict the tendons around the elbow and put pressure on the nerves that run through that area. Eventually this leads to small tears and abrasions resulting in tendonitis and all sorts of other nastiness.

A jacked-up elbow is a huge pain in the ass and can take you out of the lifting game in a hurry. Pretty much every lifter who presses or pulls heavy will have to deal with issues surrounding their elbows at some point in their career so let’s take care of it before it even starts.

To work the outside of the triceps use a small ball against the wall. Simply place the ball against the wall, lean your triceps onto it, and roll your body up and down. Be sure to cover the area right below where your deltoids attach to your arm as well as the deep belly of the triceps. Allow your elbow to bend slightly so that your triceps isn’t flexed and can relax with the rolling.

To work on the inner area of your triceps close to the elbow, I recommend either rolling with a ball held in your other hand or simply using your thumb in the “supported thumb” position. The supported thumb technique lets you really get in there while keeping you from stressing out the ligaments around your thumb.

Rolling Out the Pecs: Most people don’t think of their pecs as having any type of scar tissue or adhesions but if you do any sort of pressing (and most people do way too much), it’s more than likely that your pecs are way too tight. This tightening of the pecs combined with the lack of balance in pushing and pulling that most guys do (not you, though… you always perform as many or more rows as you do presses… right?) will result in that “shoulders pulled forward” monkey posture that you see on most dumbass gymrats. Not only does this make you look like a schlub, it’s begging for a shoulder injury down the road.

Solution: More pulling movements and upper back development combined with stretching and SMR on the pecs and front delts!

Roll the pecs out with a tennis ball simply by holding it in your opposite hand and working them over. Move your arm on the worked side around to different orientations to put the pecs into different states of stretch or relaxation to help find trigger points. This isn’t rocket science, people. Put the ball on your tit and look for ouchie spots.

Samuel L. Jackson as Shaft. Good posture, bad mother. Coincidence?

SMR isn’t always the most fun stuff to do in the gym, I admit. However, a few minutes before and after your sessions will heal up a ton of injuries, prevent new ones, increase your mobility, improve your posture (the only girls that like dudes with bad posture are chubby emo chicks), and basically take you one step closer to being a bad mother.

Drop a comment below with your experiences on SMR!

Comments on If It Hurts Just Put Your Balls On It! Part III Leave a Comment

August 7, 2011

David Piersol @ 2:30 am #

If I take a break for any longer than 3 days from squats then I need it to do them without hip pain.

Isaac @ 2:41 pm #

You’ll probably find that would subside after a week or two, not that I’m necessarily recommending that. A lot of tightness can happen during the supercompensation period.

Keep squatting frequently, cycle load and volume up and down, and do your SMR!

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.