Like all trends, there are some parts reality and some parts fiction within the myofascial release world. It was great to be the featured author on T-Nation for calling people's attention to one piece of the fairytale: jamming on tissue as hard as you can wherever it's "resistant" and relaxing into that pressure is good for you. The obviousness of this misapplied logic should've been evident to all onlookers. But again, popularity seldom has anything to do with sensibility.
For the full article, go here: https://www.t-nation.com/training/foam-rolling-gone-wrong
The backlash was mild. I expected worse. I knew that there would be many people who resisted the news, since there are newbie "professionals" and enthusiasts in the fitness industry without much experience and who have crafted a whole practice based on this nonsense. There are just so many people who have taken up the mantle of "experienced" fitness influencer without ever having worked a single full-time week of coaching in a physical facility, let alone years at a sizable one. I didn't realize the magnitude of the problem until a couple of years ago when I started to pay attention to social media, at which point I discovered almost a linear relationship between fame and lack of expertise. If someone spent all her time on self-promotion, not being mentored and developing valuable experience in the health sciences, she could be a household name of unquestionable authority on fitness. If someone spent all his time on professional development, not self-marketing, you can guess. So many of the pieces of advice in circulation are just one online philosopher copying the inexperience of another online philosopher. Perhaps worse are the part-time coaches who have worked as trainers as their side gig, or they worked in smaller gyms from the beginning. They don't have a big enough dataset to begin to opine; yet they are the loudest voices sounding off in every venue. I think back to how many beliefs I had to revise as I crossed the 10 thousand, then 20 thousand, then 30 thousand, then 40 thousand hours of professional experience lines. One of the biggest names from one of the biggest weight loss shows was a bartender and probably still hasn't hit the 10 thousand mark for actual coaching experience.
After you work six or seven days a week directly with teams who are training hundreds or thousands of clients for years, you start to realize a lot of seemingly "good" ideas were not so good. Yet, there are voices of "authority" who've trained at maximum 15 hours a week at a warehouse gym from the beginning or who NEVER were mentored by an in-person peer group. My new hires 14 years ago had more real coaching experience in their first year than most online influencers have after 5-10 years of supposed expertise. I realize it's hard for them to understand that everything they do is wrong. They don't even have the context or know enough to know that they don't know anything.
The T-Nation article and photos were good attention-grabbers, but made it a little more difficult for people to wrangle with the actual content, it seemed. 100% of those who first had something negative to add to the conversation hadn't read the article at all or missed the central theme altogether. That said, once I thanked even the most ardent naysayers for their input, and reiterated the findings weren't opinion, but known metrics and specific calculations, that seemed to clear up the misunderstandings for them as well.