This tissue can change in two ways, length and density. We perform stretching to affect muscle length, and deep tissue massage or foam rolling to decrease density. Foam rolling is a simple, cost effective way of performing self-massage and is something you should invest some time in.
In response to injury and overuse, muscle tissue will increase in density – forming knots or trigger points. These dense, knotted portions of muscle result in a reduced muscle length. However, stretching a muscle before foam rolling or deep tissue massage is like pulling on an elastic band with a knot in it, it will draw the knot even tighter. Before working on muscle length, first work on muscle density.
Restoring the quality of your muscle can be a relatively painful process – learn to love it. The instantaneous feeling of relaxed, free movement afterwards is fantastic, but the longer term injury prevention benefits are the real gold.