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Reactive Training for Mobility? Yes. And here is how and why.

We often refer to mobility as the secret weapon of the Core-Tex®.  And if you’ve ever had the opportunity to go through some of the motions and principles described below, you know exactly what we’re talking about.

Fitness industry legend and IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, Douglas Brooks said his hips felt like “liquid” the first time he went through some of our mobility protocol. 

The science is there behind the amazing response you get from using the Core-Tex and reactive training for your mobility work. See the video at the end of the article for some examples.

How Oscillating Motion Can Help Your Clients Move Better

One strategy of improving myofascial mobility during training sessions is to incorporate strategic, oscillating movements grounded in evidence-based principles along with the personal trainer or therapist’s personal experience. The neurophysiological pathways elicited through rhythmical, oscillating movements prepare the body for more global myofascial mobilization movements.

Fascia adapts its fiber arrangement, length and density according to local demands (Findley, 2009). This follows Davis’ Law of soft tissue modeling. Along with this, both macro and micro trauma will have local effects on arrangement, length, and density with global influences on the body. Habitual postures, repetitive movement patterns and a musculoskeletal health history give us insight into the myofascial restrictions that influence the client’s movement patterns.

Critical Execution Points

Myofascial restrictions will limit motion at the joints. Stretching or mobilizing 
techniques that approach a joint’s barrier and stress the joint capsule (intimately tied to the intervening fascia) will discharge joint receptors that up-regulate increased muscle tonus around the joint. In addition, the threshold for discharge is likely to be lower in joints that have previously been damaged and not thoroughly rehabilitated or that have experienced degenerative changes. For example, an unstable ankle joint from a previous ankle sprain may respond to rapid, end range or close to end range loading with increased co-contraction of the peroneals, anterior tibialis, toe extensors and gastroc/soleus complex. Therefore, the movements suggested here work in a range below any barriers presented by the joints or myofascia.

Two key variables associated with the oscillatory motion are rhythm and amplitude.
  1.  Rhythm relates to the tempo and timing of the movement. The movement should be continuous with no pause or delay at either end of the movement. A gentle, controlled momentum utilizing the stored elastic energy of the myofascial line(s) being addressed is used as part of the motion to produce a sense of “rocking.”  The inherent motion created by the Core-Tex facilitates this perfectly.
  2.  Amplitude refers to the size of the oscillation created by both the range of motion in the direction of the barrier (tissue tension) as well as the return range of motion in which the tissue tension is disengaged. These movements should not approach the associated joint barrier and maximal tissue tension. Instead, the motion should have small amplitude in both the direction of tissue tension and in the direction where tension is removed.  The safety bumper which is part of the Core-Tex design does this for you.

 Advantages of Core-Tex Based Myofascial Release

A physiological advantage to a client actively performing these movements in a gravitational field is the addition of heat and fluid exchange within the tissue created by the muscles associated with the movement (Ingber, 2003). Mechanically, more overall connective tissue can be influenced via movement permitted through the reactive variability of the Core-Tex. Huijing (2007) has shown myofascial force transmission between and within muscles, demonstrating connections between both synergistic and antagonist muscles. Within a muscle fiber, up to half of the total force generated by the muscle is transmitted to surrounding connective tissues rather than directly to the origin and insertion of the muscle fibers.

When utilizing the multiple vectors with which the Core-Tex can move, we are able to access myofascial limitations specifically along the vectors that they are most prominent.  The user is able to move the platform and explore where their unique needs are.

The overall objective of the oscillatory movements is to reduce myofascial tone so that the range of motion can gradually be improved through the targeted myofascial lines by increasing the amplitude of the movements. As tonus is decreased, the oscillations create a pumping action of the tissue. As range of motion is increased, fascial lines in parallel as well as in series are positively affected.

Returning to the ankle joint as the example, limited dorsiflexion is a common movement challenge for many clients. This can be due to myofascial restrictions from the plantar fascia to the hamstrings and/or over activity of the surrounding musculature due to instability-as in the case of chronic ankle sprains.

Conclusion

Strategic movement with reactive training and reactive variability can be an adjunct or complimentary strategy your client uses for self-myofascial release in combination with tool assisted devices on the fitness floor. Both forms of myofascial release will benefit the client as will manual treatments by a trained therapist.

If we can agree that the body is in fact a rhythmic structure, then with oscillating movements you are creating rhythm where rhythm is not present due to myofascial restriction. By following a philosophy of “ask – don’t tell the body,” you can work with the body versus against it to actively improve function of the myofascial system.

Oscillating Myofascial Release in Action

The video below provides additional examples of movement-based myofascial release techniques you can use with your clients:

 References

Huijing, P.A. (2007). Epimuscular myofascial force transmission between antagonistic and synergistic muscles can explain movement limitation in spastic paresis. Electromyography and Kinesiology, 17(6): 708–724.

Ingber, D.E. (2003). Tensegrity II. How structural networks influence cellular information processing networks. Journal of Cell Science, 116: 1397-1408.

 

 

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