4 Home-Based Soft Tissue Exercises for Myofascial Release

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How BodyTRAC is Bringing Soft Tissue Massage to the Fitness Studio

BodyTRAC Workout
New York Health & Racquet Club

Soft tissue massage, foam rolling and trigger point therapy are hot topics in the fitness world, and for good reason. These types of self-delivered soft tissue work can help prevent adhesions (painful knots) from forming in the fascia of your muscles, helping to maintain range of motion and exercise performance while reducing the likelihood of injury or chronic pain.

The only problem? Most people don't know to effectively use these treatments on their own—they need an instructor to guide them through the paces.

The good news is, gyms and studios are starting to acknowledge the importance of providing such classes to their clientele. For instance, the New York Health & Racquet Club began offering BodyTRAC classes to members in the fall of 2015 to teach participants how to perform soft tissue massage techniques, myofascial release therapy, trigger point therapy and mindful breathing with the assistance of an Activ8R tool.

BodyTRAC exercises and other myofascial release techniques aren't designed to build strength or make you break a sweat; rather, they increase blood flow throughout the body, resulting in better movement and an increased range of motion. In turn, fitness enthusiasts can expect to see a decrease in recovery time from other workouts as they engage in this therapy-like class.

While the BodyTRAC class is currently offered exclusively at New York Health & Racquet Club, you may find other similar classes at your local gym. Even if there's not a formal class offered, ask whether a trainer might offer an instructional seminar to interested participants. Myofacial release and other forms of soft tissue therapy are rapidly gaining a foothold in mainstream fitness, so you're bound to find someone who can help put you through the paces.

For a home-based routine, New York Health & Racquet Club generously shared a few simple exercises from their BodyTRAC class that you can do at home. All you need is a Activ8R tracker ($30) or a similar product. You can even place two tennis balls in a tube sock, tying a knot between them, for a similar effect.

For additional information on BodyTRAC and more than 600 New York Health & Racquet Club weekly classes, visit NYHRC.com.

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Psoas Release (Deep Core Muscle)

  • Stack two double trackers to resemble an “x” on the floor, with the top tracker positioned vertically, angled against the bottom tracker.
  • Set the stacked trackers on either the left or right side of your stomach, in between your rib cage and front hipbone.
  • Lie across the stacked trackers, and spread your elbows out, laying your head on the floor.
  • Remain in this position for one to five minutes, gradually "sinking in" to any points of pain.
  • Switch sides of stomach and repeat.

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Spinal Column/Erecter Spinae (Back Muscles)

BodyTRAC - Spinal Column
New York Health & Racquet Club

  • Place one double tracker along your back, across your spine so the space of the double tracker is positioned over your vertebrae.
  • Lie back and slowly roll the tracker up and down the length of your spine, or in small sections of your spine.
  • You can also push the tracker side to side to create a shiatsu massage simulation.
  • This exercise can be done against a wall by placing the double tracker on the wall and performing the above techniques.
  • Continue for one to five minutes.

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Scapula (Shoulder Blades)

BodyTRAC - Scapula
New York Health & Racquet Club

  • Place the double tracker vertically, between your shoulder blade and spine (as shown).
  • Techniques applied can include pressing into the double tracker and/or moving the same-side arm to find and release any tension or "knots" in the muscles surrounding the shoulder blade, including the large latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles.
  • This exercise can be done against a wall or on the floor.
  • Continue for one to five minutes before switching sides.

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Glutes

BodyTRAC - Glutes
New York Health & Racquet Club

  • Sit on a double tracker, placing the equipment so it's under your glutes.
  • The double tracker can be angled vertically, horizontally, or at any other angle on the floor.
  • Roll the double tracker up and down your glutes, finding any points of tightness, then "sinking into" those spots to help massage and release the knots. You may want to re-position the double tracker occasionally so you can roll over the tracker in different directions or angles.
  • Continue for one to five minutes before switching sides.

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