11 essential trigger point releases

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Take a look below at these at home trigger point releases that will help you release tension and move better.

An old army saying goes “if you can’t tie knots, tie lots!”

Whether you’ve been training hard or sitting for long hours chances are you’re going to be full of them as well. When we look at performance at any level we need to monitor our body and learn when it is in condition to perform and when it is not. The next layer comes by understanding which phase of training you are in and learning how to mange or improve movement yourself because finding a good manual therapist can take hours and lots of money so taking the time to learn the basics and doing them devilishly well goes a long way in reducing costs and time away from activity. 

Learning the basics of trigger point therapy is a great start when it comes to your body as they can be high impact, time efficient things you can do at home for minimal cost as most take literally one trigger point ball to complete. 

So if we are focusing on the basics of trigger point therapy there are 11 go to trigger points I teach my clients to self release and here’s why:

Neck Release – “text neck” is an all too common condition today. We carry so much tension in our necks from sitting, stress and using our mobile devices it makes perfect sense to release those trigger points in the neck. 

Latissimus Dorsi – We associate big lats with strong and powerful human beings that can lift and carry lots of weight or do a lot of pull-ups, but did you also know they are internal rotators of the shoulder? These trigger points can be partly responsible or the victims of poor posture as they naturally pull your shoulders forward.  

Pectorals – If we spend all day on a computer chances are we are in a flexion position. When we also add activities like bench press into the mix (looking at you gentlemen) we can often have weak rotator cuffs, horrible posture and weakened posterior chains. Releasing those tight pec trigger points goes a long way to getting in the right position.

Trapezius & Thoracic – Our posterior chain is often considered the poor stepchild of the anterior chain. Tides are slowly changing with the the trends of booty training and the plethora of fitness “influencers” selling their online programs but we often forget about our shoulder and particularly how thoracic mobility effects our ability to push, pull and go over head. The traps and thoracic trigger points are put together as you can use a single trigger point ball to release both points. If you’re a desk bound athlete these MUST be in your arsenal.

Foot – High heels, poorly fitting shoes and runners all have one thing in common, they usually don’t pay much attention or love to the bottom of your feet. If you’re getting some km’s in or work in one of those jobs that requires dress shoes getting the blood flowing through the bottom of your feet helps promote better ankle mobility and proprioception through the floor and therefore will increase stability and performance. 

Anterior Tibialis & Calf – The muscles of the lower leg often carry a lot of tension, whether it’s from poor shoe selection, ankle mobility or knee issues they often wind up bearing the brunt of our injuries and poor choices. Just like the foot release, be sure to release these essential trigger points if you run or intend on doing any field sports.  

Quadracep & ITB – Pretty straight forward. Your quads often have to battle hours of sitting to then go and perform hundreds of reps in a workout. Quite often it can also be the lateral (ITB & Vastus Lateralis) or medial (Vastus Medialis) that presents as tight, painful or a likely culprit for knee pain. 

Glute & Lateral Hip – Your power muscles! If we spend all day on our gluten they like to go missing when we need them though. Sitting kills our glutes and is generally the devil. Focusing on the lateral hip aspect will also reduce tension for long days at the desk.

Psoas – We spend an awful lot of time in hip flexion, this can often leave our illiopsoas tight. Strong hip flexors are essential for any form of field sport or running and if you’re favourite past time after work is crashing on the couch only after spending all day at the desk you might want to take a look here. Getting into extension by releasing tight hips and focusing on glute activation before jumping into dynamic efforts is a must do for anyone.

Quadratus Lumborum (QL) – Our lower back (lumbar) is usually blamed and called weak when we suffer from lower back pain. This usually starts as tension in the lower back as we are constantly finding ourselves in flexion. Lower back pain however is usually brought on by tight hips, weak anterior chain (core/trunk stability) or too much time in poor sedentary positions. The poor lower back is only trying to keep you upright.

Hamstrings – The amount of people that I see trying to get back to activities like running without focusing on their hamstrings is staggering. Once again if we sit, our hamstrings are naturally in a shortened position and just like our glutes they can become lazy or dormant when they are not used. Hit this trigger point release to lengthen and then strengthen before getting back to dynamic activity.

So there you have it, 11 areas you can focus on for at home trigger point therapy. Master the basics, do them devilishly well and your body will thank you for it. Once you’ve mastered this, check out Unlock Your Movement to take your knowledge and body to another level.

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