How to Use Massage in a Training Program

The Fascia Surrounding Your Muscle Fibers

In yesterday's post I mentioned that massage is just a temporary solution to fixing a tight muscle. When I was in massage school, I had to do a few hundred hours of massage to earn my license. It was called "clinic," where people came in from around town to get a discounted student massage. What I found very interesting is that I would see the same people over and over again. At first, I found it flattering. I thought it meant that I was doing a good job but on second thought I started to think it was because I was doing a bad job. Every week they would come back with the same problems.

"Can you spend most of the time on my neck and upper back?" They would say.

It was like a broken record. Every person who came through my door said the same thing. Clearly what I was doing was not working. 

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Massage has its place. I used it a lot in pro sports because I often didn't have time to attack the problem at its source. Guys would come up to me with a tight calf fifteen minutes before they were about to go try and lock up LeBron James and I just needed them to feel good rather than try to delay the game six weeks while we build up hamstring strength. 

HOWEVER, there is one type of massage that is highly effective and instant. This is fascial manipulation. This has the ability to be such a big game changer that I built an entire online course around it. 

Simply put, fascia surrounds your muscles as a whole as well as your muscle fibers (it also surrounds your organs which you can learn about here). Without fascia you would just be ground beef. Your entire body would fall apart. It helps distribute force around the body and it lies down extra collagen fibers on lines of repetitive stress.

This is the one the one that you need to remember. Yes you! Where are your lines of repetitive stress. In most humans, they are in the lower back, chest, plantar fascia etc. In these areas, there are actual points of densification of these extra collagen fibers. If you can . find the exact point, you can give it some friction which will heat up the tissue. Once it reaches a specific temperature, the densification will instantly melt and pain/tension will subside. It's as close to magic as you will see in the human body. These areas of densification are all over your body.

As a strength coach, you may not be able to do this. You may not have a license to give manual therapy but you can still use this information. Most strength coaches understand that the ribs being flared and the hips being anteriorly tilted isn't ideal. This position is aided by all of the densifications in the lower back, pecs and hips. Maybe you can't release those (hopefully you work with someone that can) but you can start working on building functional densifications. Densify the abdominal tissue. Densify the hamstring tissue. Use fascial science to your advantage and start creating lines of repetitive stress that work are working for you or your athletes. 

As I finish this post up, I'm reminded of a conversation I had a few days ago with a friend of mine about imposter syndrome. The people we admire most are the most child-like. I don't mean that in a negative way at all. They say what they think. They take chances. They have fun. They do things that the normal folks are too calculated to do. There is some incredible science out there just waiting for you to connect the dots. Be a pioneer. We need you. You need you. 

If you want to learn more about how we incorporate fascia into our entire training model, click the link below to get started on learning the basics of the genMAX model. This is a model on how to unlock your genetic max (genMAX) and fascia plays a critical role here.

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