Fascia Stretching and Strengthening
Fascia is a connective tissue that enwraps the muscles, different groups of muscles, vessels, and nerves. It binds these structures together and consists of several layers: superficial, deep and visceral. It forms a web sheath over the muscles the same as the whitish tissue between the skin and muscle of meat, like chicken. Fasciae are able to withstand tension forces, and reduce friction by allowing muscles to glide over one another.
Excessive repetitive movements and trauma can increase the density of fascia. Even though there are no nervous system innervations, this increased density can impede proper movement and sometimes form adhesions or tight knots. These adhesions or knots can become trigger points that cause pain. Often times traditional stretching will just produce thicker fascia, compounding the issue. An easy treatment consists of breaking the fascia up by massage and resistance stretching techniques. Resistance stretching relies on a weighted eccentric (negative) movement taken to the point of stretching, or manual resistance similar to active stretching (activating a muscle through a full range of motion).
Fascia is a very energy efficient material that acts like a rubber band and springs back into position; releasing the fascia can increase biomechanical efficiency and allows normal length tension relationships. Training the fascia can be done through plyometrics, which simulates the catapult-like motion of the body bringing the fascia through a rapid lengthened state followed by a rapid shortening; or during multi-muscle exercises or calisthenics.
If you can your actively stretch and strengthen your fascia system, it will allow you to move through a freer range of motion and increase the functionality in your daily life as well as your workout routine. For more information on how to correct any issues with your facial system please contact Amber Walz or any other PFT on staff.