Are you seeking ways to help your clients relieve stress, speed up their recovery, or just improve overall performance? Myofascial release tools are a personal trainer’s best friend.
Self myofascial release (SMR) is a self-performed stretching technique used to manage and minimize muscle tightness and pain brought about by physical activity. By applying a gentle force to the muscle, breaks up any knots and releases tension.
It’s recommended to be performed before the warm-up to prepare the body for the rigorous activity and to minimize injury. Additionally, it’s also done after a workout to facilitate faster recovery.
Unfortunately, not all clients know how it’s performed or the tools needed for it. That’s where you as the fitness professional comes in. It’s up to you to educate your clients about these techniques.
Many trainers may offer trigger point release instruction as part of their clients’ recommendations. Confidence that you can properly deliver this type of service comes from your in-depth knowledge of the muscular system and myofascial release techniques.
If you’re looking for the best myofascial release tools for personal trainers to use and recommend to clients, keep on reading!
The Essential Myofascial Release Tools Every Personal Trainer Needs
While the first on this list is the most common, you would be surprised to discover that there is a large selection of myofascial release tools that you and your clients can use. This variety exists to address different needs, target different body parts, and deliver various intensities.
To help you gain a better understanding of their uses, we take a look at the most effective myofascial release tools for personal trainers.
1) Foam Roller
- HIGH DENSITY FOAM ROLLER: Ultra rigid foam roller provides maximum firmness for an extra tough and firm massage
- BUILT FOR REPEATED USE: Foam roller maintains shape after repeated use and is built to a professional grade quality and designed for commercial gyms and clubs to be used 100 times a day versus 100 times a year in a home gym
- IMPROVE CORE STRENGTH: Perfect for developing core stabilization, lower body balance and stamina
- MUSCLE MASSAGE RELIEF: May also be used for gentle stretching and self-mobilization of joints and spine
- MASSAGE GUIDE INCLUDED: A downloadable massage guide is included to help get you started!
This is the most commonly used and recognized myofascial release tool. If you’re just starting out as a personal trainer, this is one of the first tools to invest in because this is incredibly easy to use and is amongst the most versatile and durable of them all. Not only that—it’s highly affordable and feels great, too.
From its name alone, it may seem like the foam roller is made of soft squishy material. This is incorrect. It’s typically made of rigid foam ranging from low to high density, which is hard and firm enough to compress the muscles.
The foam roller is great for targeting trigger points in large muscle areas like the backs and legs. It can also be used for gentle stretching and self-mobilization of the spine and joints.
You can also find foam rollers with textured knobs or bumps along the surface. If you want a more intense and deeper massage, it’s recommended that you go with this type as it can get into the tough to reach spots a bit better.
The average length of foam rollers is 36 inches. With this length, the individual is able to maintain focus on the targeted areas with lots of room to roll. However, smaller versions are also available which typically range between 12 – 24 inches.
When buying or using foam rollers, it’s a good idea to start with the soft variation first and later progress to the more firm variation once the muscles have adapted to the pressure.
- Durable yet affordable
- Excellent for releasing tightness in large muscles
- Easy to use
- Perfect for beginners
- The best tool for massaging the glutes and back muscles
- Not suitable for targeting small trigger points
- You need to be on the floor to use it efficiently
- Not very portable at 36 inches
2) Lacrosse Ball
Lots of experts recommend using fancy massage or trigger point balls. Well, there’s a more affordable alternative for this. It’s no other than the Lacrosse ball.
Most people love this option because it’s simple and very effective. With its small size and round shape, you can use it to target those areas you can’t easily reach using a foam roller. It also delivers a much deeper massage, allowing you to break apart even the toughest adhesions.
While the foam roller is recommended for larger muscle areas, this myofascial release tool allows you to go deeper into your glutes or the external rotators of your hips.
Additionally, their small size makes them perfect for traveling since you can easily put them inside your luggage. In addition to boosting your post-recovery workout, it’s also useful in addressing lower back pain after a long haul flight!
If the Lacrosse ball pressure is too firm, try using a tennis ball instead.
- Highly portable
- Small size and lightweight
- Great for targeting hard-to-reach trigger points
- Challenging to use
- May deliver too much pressure if not used properly
3) Trigger Point Cane
- The Original Trigger Point Tool – Trigger points are tight, tender, contracted muscle fibers, which cause pain. Using a Body Back Buddy to apply sustained pressure to a trigger point can interrupt the pain-spasm cycle. When you release the pressure, you will feel the muscle relax as fresh oxygenated blood flows in.
- 2 Hooks Are Better Than 1- The 2 hooks and 11 knobs (in 3 different shapes) were created to alleviate pain and soreness across the entire body. Unlike single muscle hook designs, the two hooks on the Body Back Buddy let you apply more leverage to more parts of the body. The 3 different shapes include acorns for deep tissue, round for gliding over larger muscle groups, and nubs for the lower back.
- Full Body Pain Relief – Designed to be the only massage tool you need to achieve fast, simple relief for your whole body. More than just a shoulder massager, the Body Back Buddy is built to directly target pressure points throughout the body located in the back, neck, shoulders, legs, feet, and thighs.
- Won’t Bend or Break – The sturdy one piece construction is lab tested to be up to 30% stronger than other therapy canes. You can see and feel the difference. No assembly required. Ships to you ready to use out of the box.
- Proudly Made in the USA – Every Body Back Buddy is made in Knoxville, TN from materials sustainably sourced in the U.S. Built to last, every Body Back Buddy is backed by a Lifetime Guarantee. If not completely satisfied, contact our U.S. based support team.
The trigger point cane looks like a toy train track because of its ‘S’ shape, but don’t let its weird shape fool you! This is the go-to myofascial release tool for getting hard-to-reach trigger spots on your neck, back, and shoulders.
Ever have a hard to reach spot you wish you could massage? This does the trick.
These are designed to help you specifically target the exact position of the muscle knot you wish to get rid of. Most of these canes come with knobs in different shapes and sizes.
You would also notice that there are strategically placed handles all over the cane. These handles are designed to give you a better grip in order to apply the right amount of pressure.
However, you should be careful in choosing massage canes since you can encounter some that may easily bend and break. If possible, go for a cane that’s made of a durable plastic material that’s designed to last.
- Comes with knobs in different shapes and sizes for full-body muscle pain relief
- Various handles and knobs for better grip
- S-shape targets most trigger points in the body
- Allows you to target many trigger points at a time
- Bulky and awkward shape
- Involves a bit of maneuvering to hit the trigger points
4) Self-Massage Roller Stick
- ✅ BEST NO-PILL THERAPEUTIC STICK: Just a few minutes a day with your leg roller for muscles will provide instant relief for spasms & cramps. This back roller for back pain lowers buildup of lactic acid & reaches deeply into muscle tissue.
- ✅ 100% NO-RISK PURCHASE ON OUR ATHLETIC ROLLER: We aim to give you relief & recovery, one calf massager at a time. If Physix lymphatic drainage massager fails to do that, just message us and we’ll make things right for you, no questions asked!
- ✅ NO-SQUEAK, ERGONOMIC DESIGN: Made with premium thermoplastic spindles & a solid stainless steel core, our foam rollers for muscles gets rid of tightness & knots for myofascial release & trigger point therapy w/o noise, skin-pinching, or leg hair-pulling!
- ✅ DESIGNED TO REACH YOUR WHOLE BODY: With Physix muscle stick roller, you can move around & reach muscles hard to access with a usual foam roller: neck, back, legs, arms, shoulders, calves, quads, shins, IT band, hips, feet, the whole body!
- ✅ USED BY THERAPISTS: Trainers & physiotherapists use & endorse Physix muscle therapy massage stick roller. Not just for athletes, those with IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, tendonitis, muscle pains, or work out regularly, benefit from our massage rollers!
The massage stick is cylindrical like the foam roller, but it’s smaller and slimmer. Because of this, you can consider it to be a slightly different, mini version of foam rollers.
It also comes in a variety of textures—smooth, bumpy, or spiny. The textures of the stick will dictate the level of release that the stick can give. For a better release and deeper pressure, choose one with bumps or spines.
This is the go-to myofascial release tool of runners and athletes because its small design allows the user to easily target tight calves. This activity is a bit difficult to do with foam rollers because it’s longer and wider and only gravity applies the force.
Another great thing is you don’t have to sit or lay on the floor to use this tool correctly. Since it’s smaller, you can easily roll the stick against your muscles using your hands to apply pressure while standing.
- Portable and fits into gym bags
- Comes with different textures for different levels of release
- Can target specific areas that you can’t reach using foam rollers
- Great for tight calves
- This requires a good deal of effort
- You can’t use this to target larger muscle groups such as the back
5) Circle Handheld Myofascial Massage Tool
The use of this massage tool is different from the other products on the list. Instead of pinning the product against your sore muscles, you use this by placing your body part in the middle of the device—in between the massage rollers.
Its design delivers a consistent amount of pressure to the body part that’s being targeted. That’s why it offers balanced treatment for your forearms, shins, calves, etc.
This tool would benefit personal trainers that provide at-home services because it is fairly compact and easily transported.
- Provides a consistent amount of pressure
- Delivers a relieving massage experience
- Not suitable for massaging the back, chest, and other large body parts
- Also not suitable for people on the larger side with excessive body fat
There you have it. These are the top myofascial release tools for personal trainers to use with clients.
You may be wondering whether you need this many different myofascial release tools. Since these tools vary in their sizes, shapes, and levels of firmness, they will come handy in targeting different trigger points and in different situations. The type of tool you should use will depend on where the trigger point is located.
The good news is you don’t need to invest a lot in myofascial release tools. Basically any item works well as long as it can apply consistent pressure to the affected muscle.
In the end, you’ll need to take time to determine what would work best for your individual clients. With more and more experience, you’ll get better at helping clients to relieve the tension in their muscles for better recovery and performance.