What does fascia have to do with it?
Every true athlete knows that in order to do well in a sport they play, they have to add layers such as stability, mobility, balance, endurance and strength.
Fascia facilitates the use of these layers to co-ordinate movement to develop speed, length and multi-directional movement. Whether you are running, jumping or tossing a ball, the fascia is critical for improving and staying injury free.
But what is fascia? It is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
Try looking at the sky. Did you know that your big toe and bum muscles are letting you do that? Your big toe muscles are connected to the back of your neck because all our movements are initiated by a web of neuromyofascia.
Fascia covers our body in an interconnected fibrous network that gives elastic control of our body structure. This fascia works along highways that connect from our chest to toes, neck to heels and sides. These anchor our movements to long levers and encourage smooth unified movements, while preventing certain structures from over stressing.
If we are reaching for a crate, the neuromyofascial system needs to anchor our shoulder to our hip and eventually our plantar fascia and toe muscles. The full body synchronizes, recruits more muscles and improve this transfer of pressure and force, decreasing the risk of damage.
How to help the fascia
Hip hinge: Hinging at the hip with linking proper glute activation, to heel pressure while protecting low back.
Lunge: Pelvic control with balance and dynamic weight transfer. How you lean determines where your pressure and anchorage is.
Overhead Push: Connects the shoulder girdle to more than just your upper traps, fascia can anchor through our lats (side), psoas/flexors (front) and glutes/hamstring (back) chains.
Row: This movement activates both the superficial and deep lines of myofascia, engaging the core at all levels.
Suitcase or Farmers Carry: Works with the fascia slings in connecting our strength and balance to stabilize our counterparts.
Just like our muscles, the healthier our fascia is, the more we can do and the safer we are doing it.
Hydrate: Drink yes, but we need to allow the body’s fluids to be able to get in every crack to keep the fascia flexible and soft. This means keeping it irrigated by foam rolling and breaking up ‘knots’ within the body. This allows separation and ‘space’ for our body fluids to hydrate the facia and muscle cells.
Mix it up: the more variation we have in movement the more space the fascia has to move. Mix up your training motion patterns and speeds to enable to fascia to recruit and adjust as needed.
Awaken its senses: the more ways we use it, the better it is at responding to what we need. Such as including balance work without vision and focusing on the feelings through our feet and how we need to adapt is done through the fascia and nerves ‘talking’ to each other.
If you are feeling tight, are uncoordinated or feel like you are always hurting yourself, it is very likely your fascia is being neglected and the neuromyofascia highways are too ‘sticky’ to work well. Take some time to keep it elastic, strong and in tune and come and talk to one of our Physios if you need some further assistance in working on your balance, endurance and strength.