Over the last 10 years the fitness industry has begun to change. It is no longer ruled by the oversized bodybuilder frames who have very limited range of motion due to sheer size. Now is the era of functional training and Crossfit which has led many to focus more on movement patterns and postural deviations. With every plain of movement being tested in many of the workouts it has forced people to take more time at the beginning of every workout for soft tissue work and mobility exercises. The benefit of mobility is not just to bend yourself into a pretzel, but it has such practical applications in resolving pain, preventing injuries, and increased athletic performance.
The first mobility topic I will cover in this blog is smashing or myofascial release. One question that typically gets asked in my Stretch & Roll and Mobility classes is “what is fascia?” Fascia is a thin tissue that covers every muscle and every fiver within each muscle. When a muscle fiber then becomes injured the fascia on the muscle becomes tight causing pain and the smashing and releasing of the tightness helps to alleviate that pain. Common tools for this method are foam rollers, LAX balls and or JUG balls.
It is no secret that stretching before a workout is beneficial but are you stretching smart? There are many arguments for and against dynamic warm ups and stretching versus static stretching, and which one is appropriate for what action or athlete. A dynamic stretch or warm up is more active and replicates a lot of the same movements performed in a workout which helps to increase body temperature and prevent injury. Static stretching is used to improve flexibility and cool the body down. The activity that you are going to do should alter which stretching method you choose to use.
There are a lot of varieties of stretching and smashing that can be combined for the most effective stretches. Over the next couple of months my blog will highlight some of the ways to stretch and smash certain areas of the body to not only help in performance but also try to alleviate some pain that comes with working out. The tools used may be foreign to some of you but through a series of pictures and videos as well as hands on practice in my classes we can hope to achieve resolved pain, prevented injuries, and increased athletic performance.