Fascial Stretching for Athletic Performance

Fascial Stretching for Athletic Performance2019-01-13T17:20:57-06:00

Is Fascial Stretching for Me?

Fascial Stretching can improve athletic performance. Sure, you can play through the pain but everyone knows that they perform better when things don’t hurt. You need to be able to move freely and maintain stability.

However, performance athletes aren’t just professionals anymore. Many of the patients we have treated medically over the years are performing regularly in athletic competitions. Others are simply working to improve their own performance.

Who Can Benefit From Fascial Stretching?

We are able to help using simple, easy therapy steps that don’t require too much time. After all, you’re already training!

We routinely help:

  • Runners
  • Golfers
  • Cyclists
  • Cross-Fit, HIIT, Martial Arts and Weight Training Enthusiasts

How Does Fascial Stretching Work?

Our fascial stretching method is based on a simple acronym – LSS – Lengthen, Shorten, Stabilize.

First, we LENGTHEN myofascia (muscles and connective tissue) that are too short. Common examples include hamstrings and hip flexors. Tightness reduces stride length and make you more prone to injury.

Then, we SHORTEN myofascia that have been overstretched or weakened. This restores proper tone and function. For instance, weak glutes transfer strain to the spinal erectors and cause low back pain. In addition, overstretched rhomboids impact the kinetic chain of the arm and reduce strength.

Finally, we STABILIZE myofascia that are necessary for functional athletic movement. Observe the importance when trying to “cut” laterally in almost any sport. It is necessary for the quadratus lumborum to stabilize the connection between the hips, spine and ribs. This transfers force safely and effectively to the legs.

What Is Fascial Stretching Session Like?

The arc of a fascial stretching treatment looks something like this:

  • Assess and build a plan (1-2 minutes each, upper and lower body)
  • For each affected area:
    • Perform a “mini-treatment” on affected area(s)
    • Re-assess to confirm or change treatment plan
    • Treat again
  • Re-assess overall results

So what does “treatment” look like? For those familiar with myofascial and trigger point therapy, the occasional slow, deep pressure may seem familiar.

However, fascial stretching is more interactive. We systematically work joints through their entire range of motion. Then, we provide guidance and gentle traction (pulling) on the joint, while you actively assist and resist. Of course, we don’t ask you much about pain because we establish upfront that fascial stretching should be entirely pain-free!

Can’t I Just Stretch At Home?

This is not “stretching” in the conventional sense. There is no movement beyond the healthy minimal resistance provided your tissue at the time. Instead, we gently stretch the entire neuromyofascia. This includes the fascial covering of muscle fibers, tendons, ligaments (along with the joint capsules they blend into) and the associated muscle and nervous system tissue.

Gains in range of motion are not achieved by stretching “further” or “harder”. They are achieved by resetting the entire neuromyofascial system by having the patient apply minimal resistance that is cued by the therapist while gently tractioning the joint and stretching the tissue.

Some may recognize that this process is very similar to PNF stretching that is often part of myofascial therapy. Others will note that the movement-based approach that focuses on decompressing joints and kinetic chains is quite different.

We’re we’re not physical therapists or athletic trainers. We are myofascial therapists that specialize in optimizing performance through reducing pain, promoting movement and establishing true “core” stability from the inside out.