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Flexibility and Muscle Fascia

Posted Apr 22 2010 8:05pm

Today has been a pretty long day. Another 3am wake up call and off to work I went. I swapped legs out yesterday because my hamstrings were STILL sore from my workout on Sunday. Not just a little bit sore either, like hurt to the touch sore. Today they were just a little bit sore, so I went ahead and did my quad-focus leg day.

I was asked why I split up glutes/hams and quads. The reason I do this is because I love training legs and want to make sure I make every single rep and exercise count. With that being said, I can easily spend 2 hours training legs if I were to do them all in one day. That would be excessive and probably not very helpful to my physique. If I try to hit all angles and shorten the workout, I feel a little gypped, so I split them up and I do about an hour each time and feel like I get a very thorough leg workout each time.

The Workout

Barbell Squats, Hack Squats, Smith Machine Split Squats, Leg Extensions(different variations), and single leg Leg Press.

You might be thihking…umm squats work your glutes/hams too. Well hell yes they do, and they are extremely effective at doing so. The reason I do them on my “quad focus” day is because deadlifts and squats are my biggest lifts, and it is tough to do them both on the same day along with the other exercises. That is exactly why I call it a quad FOCUS day..I try to focus on my quads, but obviously it is hard to single out the quads besides leg extensions and such.

Cardio was also done at about 4am, and I barely remember it, but I do remember that I was a sweaty mess. I dominated that stairmill today!

Flexibility

It’s not secret to those that know me, that my flexibility…how should I put it….sucks? blows? isn’t-up-to-par? Put it however you want it, but I am not a flexible person. I lift heavy and hard(insert dirty joke here) and don’t stretch, foam roll, ice, soak, etc NEARLY enough. In fact, it’s pretty pathetic how little of that I do. It is something SO important and I am completely aware of that. I would almost go as far as to say it is the most important thing to do, because if you aren’t healthy you can’t perform.

That brings me to my next point. Although I’m not very flexible in most areas, I have particularly tight hips and come to find out, a tight lower back(who knew?). I was made aware of this yesterday at my first appointment with my flexibility coach.

I tweeted that and got responses ranging from “that’s ridiculous, why don’t you hire an astrologist” to “i don’t stretch and i’m flexible.” Let me clarify, a flexibility coach doesn’t just stretch you out and send you walking. Bill worked on releasing my muscles and breaking up the fascia. Muscle fascia is a connective tissue that helps support your muscles.

“Definition: Fascia is strong connective tissue which performs a number of functions, including enveloping and isolating the muscles of the body, providing structural support and protection.

Deep fascia covers the muscles in connective tissue aggregations which help to keep the muscles divided and protected. On occasion, this fascia can create tight knots or connective adhesions which act as trigger points which can cause pain ”

Basically, my muscle fascia was/is knotted and bunched up throughout my back and needed to be released. Bill worked on my upper back, lower back, shoulders and glutes and although it is somewhat painful during the treatment, you feel wonderful afterwards. Dare I even say I feel looser today than I did yesterday, after only one treatment. I am a little bit sore from the pushing and poking(wow this post is starting to sound like the intro to an amateur porno.) but I can tell that this is going to be a huge help for me.

So why is flexibility SO important?

Among(decided today that among is one of the weirdest words EVER) MANY reasons, this is the one I like best: Range of motion is what allows you to activate certain muscle fibers. When you do a squat and you go ALL the way down, you are contracting your glutes much more than if you were to only go half or 3/4 of the way down. If you aren’t even flexible enough to perform a squat, how do you expect to fire those muscles? You physically CAN’T. If you want to increase your performance, try to increase your flexibility. You might be surprised.


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