Is stretching particularly important? Nah! You might think it is, but I have news for you… Of all the techniques we can do to heal the body, stretching is the least important… Especially when done by itself!
Many of us think we need to stretch more, but when we do, we at best get temporary relief to an area or more often than not we don’t notice a difference in our flexibility or range of motion.
One of the main factors that affects our ability to get benefits from stretching is “fascia gunk” (aka knotted up and/or matted down tissue).
Fascia is the interconnected tissue that runs from the surface of your skin, through your muscles, to your bones, while also running in HUGE strands spanning the entire length of your body… and when it gets “gunked-up” it’s becomes the second densest substance in our body next to bone.
When it gets “gunked-up” it locks down those parts of the tissue so to speak, and then when we try to stretch out a muscle, those matted down areas are too stuck to actually get the benefits of the stretch…
So why does it get this way? Fascia can get “gunked-up” for a couple of reasons:
- A major injury. When we get seriously hurt, and we have tissues that are torn up and damaged, what grows back is scar tissue (aka fascia). The scar tissue then grows around the area in weird overlapping patterns to create a natural “cast” of sorts, to prevent us from hurting ourselves more… But after we recover, unless we address it directly, that fascial gunk stays put!
- More commonly though, it’s from a lack of hydration to an area of the body where our deep fascial lines become matted down.
- Lastly, it can be caused from repetitive movements in certain ranges of motion. Like from playing a sport and repeating a certain motion over and over again.
So what we need to do first before we explore the benefits of stretching is BUST-UP and BREAK APART the “gunked-up” tissue to get blood flow back to the area and get the tissues pliable again. Then we can actually receive the benefits of stretching the area. We can do this by:
- Hiring a good masseuse, PT, fascial specialist, etc.
- We can do it ourselves by learning how to use our foam rollers, and tools like trigger point balls where we can find and break apart these densely knotted-up tissues.
Now, how do we even know if we have “gunked-up” fascia? EASY!
No soft tissue on your body should hurt with a normal amount of pressure (aka the amount of pressure you would have from laying on a foam roller or TP ball is normal… vs being slowly crushed by a car is not normal ;)).
This may be a shock to some of you because you may feel like your foam roller is some sadistic torture device… Well, it can be, but if you do the work to release those fascial restrictions those pains actually go away!
One exception to this is if you hit a nerve from a funky angle and feel a shooting quick shooting pain. If you feel something like that, simply get up, reposition yourself at a different angle, and give it another go :).
If you’d like to see an example of how you can do this to your calf/achilles, with some special tips & tricks we use in our HBR Program with our clients, then check out the video I did on this very topic!
Often no matter how much we stretch, we still feel just as tight… but why?!Ever heard of fascia??? 🤔Want to find out more, &/or get some free 1 on 1 help? Then check out our masterclass, website, calendar page, and more here- https://linktr.ee/healthbyratio
Posted by Health By Ratio by Madison Doubroff on Wednesday, August 5, 2020
All in all- Stretching is not a waste of time, and we can receive benefits from it, but you need to make sure your body is in good working condition for it (aka you don’t have matted down “fascia gunk” preventing you from actually stretching those areas of the tissue).
Want to learn more on this topic? Check out our free masterclass on the 3 Steps to Rehab and Prevent Injuries, while Maximizing Fitness and Health. Or schedule a free 1 on 1 consultation call with my team where we can help you understand where your fascial restrictions are, and create a game plan with you on how to correct them, here-https://linktr.ee/healthbyratio