We have all started a workout by getting on a workout bench without proper stretching or a warm-up. We’ve put our all into working out, but have not seen improvements in weight or endurance. We’ve lifted and lifted and have made little progress in getting to the next level. As a result, we are disappointed or discouraged, our motivation for keeping up the hard work, dedicating the time, or pushing ourselves to the limit begins to wane.
We all know the importance of daily exercise, so how can we fix this issue? We start by looking into what could be preventing us from achieving our optimal goals, thus leading to the encouragement we need. The key to seeing the results we want is actually ensuring that all workouts are inclusive of joint stability, postural alignment, and power.
Muscle fascia is the layer of connective tissue that surrounds an individual’s muscles. Imagine it as the plastic coating around a roll of hot dogs that protects the meat. Fascia build-up is the leading cause for imbalances in a person’s body and can limit someone’s overall performance. Tightness, or a build-up of this muscle fascia, will decrease flexibility, cause pain, and place unnecessary pressure on joints— the muscle can’t create maximum force and is weaker than it should be. It will take longer to recover and can adversely impact the next workout. This inflexibility limits range of motion and, in turn, will increase the chance of injury.
There are a few simple techniques that can be added to every exercise regimen that can help prevent muscle fascia build-up. Proper stretching or foam rolling will break down this muscle fascia and increase flexibility immediately. A foam roller is a hard, round piece of foam that applies specific pressure to key muscles in the body, with a distinct focus on back, legs, and shoulders. It is almost like getting a deep tissue massage before every workout, releasing key trigger points deep within the muscle that prevent it from performing optimally. Spending 10 minutes of stretching and foam rolling before exercising will increase flexibility and can increase your results by over 20%.
Most clients that walk in my door have very little knowledge of foam rolling or proper stretching prior to a workout. After only one session of foam rolling, their technique and endurance begin to improve. For example, one client who had been stuck at benching 140 lbs. for 5 months was able to bench 185 lbs. after foam rolling and stretching. We corrected the imbalances and showed it was not a matter of strength, but rather a matter of flexibility. With a proper stretching and flexibility program, anyone can tone more quickly, lose weight, and feel better than ever before.
Yair Klyman is a principal of Underground Training, NJ. He can be contacted at: Yair@trainingout.com
By Yair Klyman