Getting to Know Your Fascia

By: Joel Cochran
We talk a lot about myofascial release (also known as foam rolling) but what exactly is this fascia that we speak of?  Well taking it straight from Wikipedia itself, “Fascia is a thin, tough, elastic type of connective tissue that wraps most structures within the human body, including muscle.”
The key word that I want you to focus on is “muscle.”  Your fascia wraps around your muscle to keep it supported and protected which is a good thing! The bad thing is that the “fascia is a thin, TOUGH, elastic type of connective tissue” that doesn’t like to move around too much.
So what happens when your muscles start becoming one with a tough piece of tissue like fascia?  You get pain, muscle tension and diminished blood flow (these are all bad things people).  But in comes myofascial release!
Myofascial release is a way to release your muscles from the confinements of the fascia giving you better mobility, less pain, increased blood and lymphatic circulation and a six pack… Okay maybe not the last one, but it really does help!
Don’t believe me eh?  I knew you wouldn’t!  But here is a way to prove my point and to blow your mind!
Next time you’re in the gym before you start your workout I want you test your hamstring range by trying to touch your toes standing up.  See how far you go down and make a mental note of it.
Next, I want you to take a lacrosse ball (before your workout, not after) and roll the ball on the bottom of your foot.  I want you to really get some heavy pressure into the ball and spend at least 2 minutes getting the entire bottom of the foot.  If you don’t understand what I am talking about click on this link.
After you have spent at least 2 minutes smashing the bottom of your foot I want you to retest your hamstring range by trying to touch your toes standing up again.  Guess what happens?  You can reach farther down to the ground!  Magic!
Okay, maybe it isn’t magic but its still pretty cool!  The point here is that the fascia is so extensively connected to your muscles that even just releasing the fascia at the bottom of your foot gives you more range through your hamstrings!  Minds blown…
So next time you have pain in your knee or hip, you might want to start above or below where the pain is and see what kind of tension you can release to give that joint some breathing room!
Want to learn more?  Need help relieving an ache or pain?  Email [email protected] to set up a mobility session where he can teach you more about this voodoo magic that we call mobility!