Roll, Release, React: Prepare Class for Movement

by Tanya Colucci, MS on Mar 23, 2011


Use this self-myofascial-release routine in your next warm-up.

In recent years, self myofascial release (SMR) has become a hot topic. As more research comes out, we are learning how fascial restrictions affect and influence movement. Taking group fitness participants through SMR techniques in your warm-up may give them more freedom from joint stress and pain, and their recovery times may improve.

Myofascial release is a form of bodywork and stretching/self-treatment that improves posture, increases flexibility and reduces stress, tension and pain, while boosting athletic performance, energy levels and body awareness (Earls & Myers 2010). A simple SMR routine can improve neuromuscular efficiency and prepare tissue for more dynamic movements. Some muscles are prone to fascial restrictions and others to becoming “de-activated” as a result of chronic poor posture, injury and stress. This warm-up focuses on “freeing” restricted muscles with SMR and waking up deactivated muscles.

Tip: Buy 3-foot foam rollers and cut them into 1-foot sections for class purposes. You can also use tennis balls or buy specialized myofascial release tools.

Flexibility, Core, Balance and Reactivity Circuit

Self-Myofascial Release

Focus on the following areas:

  • hip flexor/iliotibial band
  • calf complex
  • latissimus dorsi
  • chest and upper trapezius

Hold foam roller, tennis ball or other SMR tool on tender spots for 30–120 seconds, spending 1–2 minutes on each body part. Move slowly over each area—about one inch per second. Gradually incorporate slight limb movement.


Perform the following to assist with flexibility and balance:

  • Standing hip flexor stretch with arm abduction and thoracic rotation: hold for 30–60 seconds and then activate gluteus maximus to drive hips forward (3- to 5-second contraction). Repeat on opposite side.
  • Walking lunge with anterior reach and rotation: hold light medicine ball or dumbbell with arms extended. Lunge with anterior reach to outside of lunging leg and then come up to balance on one leg. Move at slow tempo: 4/2/1. Repeat on opposite side.

Activation Techniques

Perform the following to activate muscles:

  • side lunge to balance with scapular retraction
  • hip bridge from floor
  • T-plank (prone plank with rotation to side plank)
  • reactive squat jump

For first three exercises, move at slow tempo to engage deep core stabilizers, scapular stabilizers and hip extensors. Do 2–3 sets of 10–20 repetitions at 4/2/1 tempo or hold each one for 3–10 seconds. Teach optimal landing mechanics with squat jump, landing softly. Maintain neutral joint alignment of ankle, knee and lumbopelvic hip complex. Do 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps. Hold landing for 3–5 seconds (Clark et al. 2011).

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.


Clark, M.A., et al. 2011. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Earls, J., &

Myers, T. 2010. Fascial Release for Structural Balance. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Issue 4

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Tanya Colucci, MS

Tanya Colucci, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Tanya Colucci, MS, is a personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach for Synergy Training Solutions at TAVO Total Health in the Washington, DC, area. She teaches nationally and is a master instructor...


Trending Articles

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

The Reason Your Clients Don't Acieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...