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17 February 2011 ~ 1 Comment

How To Use This Site- part 1

So far on this site we’ve covered three massage techniques, two mobilization techniques and stretching for all 17 regions of the body. That’s a lot to choose from when sitting at home working on sore muscles! In this post we’re going to talk about how to actually use them all together.

Let’s start by reviewing what information is available to you on the site. When you click on the Index (Body Map) tab at the top of the screen, information is presented in five different parts.

Part One = Self Muscle Massage. This is the foundation of your soft tissue/muscle work and uses the foam roller and tennis ball. There are three techniques used in each of these posts: 1) lengthening of the muscle using the foam roller, 2) cross friction (deep muscle release technique) using a tennis ball, and 3) trigger point release (deep muscle release technique) using a tennis ball. These are performed for a selected duration (usually 2-3 minutes).

Part Two = Mobilization techniques. This part includes active (aka tennis ball) and joint mobilizations. Both of these techniques work by using pressure to anchor down one end of the muscle or joint and then move/glide the other end against that anchor. This allows them to break up restrictions by actively stretching the muscle or joint against itself. The main difference between the two is that active mobilizations work on the muscle and their tendons and joint mobilizations work on the joint itself. These techniques are not held or worked on for time. Instead we use repetitions with the goal of slow, controlled movements for each.

Part Three = Stretching. While the first two parts work on actually breaking up soft tissue and joint restrictions, stretching is used to maintain and improve upon those changes so that the body can adapt accordingly. Think of it this way- the earlier techniques are working to restore normal length and tension to the muscle and stretching will help restore how the brain and nervous system use that muscle. The goal with stretching is to stay pain free and repeat frequently. Target time is 20 seconds for 3 repetitions instead of one mega stretch.

Putting it together

So now that we have identified the six options you currently have available to you, let’s talk about how you should approach your at home sessions from an order perspective. In subsequent posts I’ll show you how to modify this based on the type of injury you’re dealing with, how old the injury is, what to do if there is no injury, and what other things you should be doing to assist the healing process. My goal with this post is to give you the basic framework of how you should use the six different pieces above. As an athlete, there will be plenty of times where you will only need a few of the techniques and also times where you will need all of them. :)

#1. Foam Roller. This should always be the first step of your soft tissue work. Think of it as the warm up. We’re trying to increase blood flow and assess the muscle for overall tension, knots/spasms, and sore spots. You want to take your time on this. Work both ends of the muscle and everything in between. Minimum time 2 minutes, maximum time 5 minutes. If you find knots or spots, then you can move on to the deeper techniques to start working on those using the techniques in #2. If you find more stiffness and tension versus anything specific, then you can move on to #3. If you don’t find anything, then you can skip to #4..

#2. Cross Friction + trigger point. If you found knots/spasms or sore sports while using the foam roller, you will want to move on to these two techniques. Using the tennis ball you are trying to break those knots up and you can do that using one or both of these techniques. 2-3 minutes max for each of these.

#3. Mobilizations. These can be used in one of two different scenarios. If using the foam roller you find that there really isn’t a specific knot, just an overall tension/tightness, the active and joint mobilizations can be a great way to free up one or both ends of the muscle to get some movement in there. These can also be helpful in shaking things loose if you can’t seem to make any gains using the cross friction or trigger point techniques. These techniques are for repetition. Smooth and controlled without trying to force the movement. 10 reps of each max.

#4. Stretching. No matter what happens with the above techniques, stretching is a must. As you break things up, this will maintain those gains.

Here are some examples using the most common injuries we will deal with on this site:

1) Tendinitis. Foam roller (focus on muscle above the tendon) -> Cross Friction  -> stretching

2) Muscle strain. Foam Roller -> Cross friction + trigger point -> active + joint mobilizations -> stretching

3) Muscle spasm. Foam roller -> Trigger point + cross friction -> stretching

4) “Tight” Muscle. Foam roller -> active + joint mobilizations -> stretching

5) Maintenance (aka no pain or tightness while using roller). Foam roller -> stretching

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One Response to “How To Use This Site- part 1”

  1. Celine Schoenhard 17 February 2011 at 5:58 pm Permalink

    This helped me out alot, thanks for taking the time to write this!

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