Self Myofascial Release has shown strong research and emperical evidence over the past 5 years to be a key ingredient for pre and post exercise routine benefit. Often described as "the poor man's massage," SMR shows 3 primary benefits to increased muscle performance and decreased recovery time: decreased neural inhibition allowing stronger force/muscle contraction, decreased myofascial adhesions, decreased trigger point pain (passive and/or active).
Key coaching points for all SMR work:
1. Perform 2-5 sets of 20-60 seconds per muscle.
2. Find the worst points of tenderness/pain in the given muscle (check the entire muscle).
3. Put as much pressure as possible on the given area while still keeping muscle relaxed.
4. Either roll over or hold pressure on the point of tenderness and gradually work deeper as muscle relaxes.
Ideally perform before your dynamic warm up/movement prep, during rest intervals between strength lifts, and immediately post workouts prior to stretching. However, if you're only going to do it once, put it prior to movement prep and static stretching before workout sessions.