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08 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Now what??

Now that the first info series (self muscle massage/release) is up and finished I wanted to take a minute to explain the rationale for why I started with that topic and and to talk about the next series we’ll be covering.

On the most basic level, the four series were chosen to help bring you through the entire healing process using the home tools that you have available to you. With that in mind, the individual goals of each info series are:

1) Decrease muscle spasms/tension and loosen up the injured area –> self massage.

2) Restore and improve mobility in the injured area to allow for normal function and healing –> stretching.

3) Provide support to the injured area while it heals –> kinesiotaping.

4) Strengthen the area to restore muscle balance, strength, and to prevent re-injury –> strengthening.

It was important to start with  self massage as this is really the meat and potatoes of self treatment as an athlete.  From an injury standpoint, it’s a critical part of the healing process. When muscles are damaged they stiffen up and over time lose their elasticity and strength. The first part of healing, is to then  break up those restrictions and to release the muscle knots/spasms. This helps to decrease pain and inflammation by allowing the muscle to return to it’s normal resting length. From here you can then work on restoring strength and function. Self massage is also extremely helpful as a preventative measure as you will be able to minimize muscle breakdown by maintaining normal mobility. Muscles work by contracting and relaxing. Muscles that become stuck in that tight position over time, lose their ability to relax and be stretched. That’s when they become open to injury- when they are unable to handle the load placed upon them either by releasing stored up energy (relaxing) or accomodating increased strain (stretching).

An added bonus of starting with self massage was the chance to show you what muscles were important and where they are. That’s half the battle right there- accurately working on what’s injured. If you take away only one thing from this site it should be this- muscles work in pairs. Work both sides and you’ll be doing far more good than if you just focused on what hurt. For example- sore and tired quad?? work both it and your hamstrings for best results. :)

So now what??

Now that the actual adhesions and muscle knots are loosening up, what’s the next step? Stretching. In our next series, we’ll be moving back through the same 17 regions we just discussed and going through the different ways to stretch out that area. Getting rid of the restrictions is only half the problem. Now you have to maintain that mobility so the muscle can reset it’s resting length and tension. Injured muscles want to stay in that shortened position with increased tension to prevent any further damage from occurring. Muscle massage will help this, but stretching will help restore and maintain that full mobility. We’ll also be discussing joint mobility during this series. Sometimes the problem isn’t the muscles. Sometimes it’s that the joint itself is restricted and preventing the muscle from working to it’s full potential.

Here’s what to expect:

Part 2 - Stretching Series

What: This series is designed to teach stretching protocols for each of the major muscle groups. Due to the flexibility variations present in athletes, each protocol will be presented with beginner, intermediate, and advanced options.

What you can expect in each installment: 1) pictures and detailed directions for each stretch, 2) guidance on how to progress through the beginner, intermediate, and advanced options, and 3) guidance on where joint mobility plays a role and how to work on/improve it at home.

The order: 1) Calf (gastroc, soleus, post tib), 2) Posterior Thigh (hamstrings), 3) Posterior Hip (Glutes, Piriformis, External Rotators), 4) Lateral Hip (Glute Med, TFL, ITB), 5) Anterior Hip (Psoas, Iliacus, Sartorious, Pectineus), 6 ) Quads, 7 ) Adductors, 8 ) Anterior/Lateral lower leg (anterior tib, peroneals, top of the foot), 9 ) Foot (Plantar Fascia + big toe), 10 ) Low Back, 11 ) Mid-Back (thoracic spine), 12 ) Neck, 13 ) Shoulder (anterior/front), 14) Shoulder (posterior/back), 15 ) Upper Arm (biceps and triceps), 16 ) Elbow/Forearm, 17) Hand.

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