Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tissue Quality

Regeneration work has been the word on the street for awhile now.  What is it?  It's basically putting into regular practice time invested in your health and recovery.  It's working on tissue quality.  Static stretching has been getting a bad rap in the past few years.  Studies showing that it doesn't help or even benefit when it comes to injury prevention, some actually show a decrease in power.  But lets get real, 10 minutes of static stretching at the end of the workout isn't going to fact it will probably play a bit role in keeping you moving well.  But stretching works on the length of the muscle tissue, lets talk about the quality of the muscle tissue.  
Whats the difference?  Muscles can be tight for a variety of reasons.  That will be a different post unto itself.  But often times the quality is junk.  Knotted, tight, tender are words that may describe it.  When the muscle is like this it won't have the same contractile properties as healthy tissue.  It won't act optimally when you need it to.  It may actually be the source of your pain.  Stretching won't work.  Here's an analogy.  Imagine a knot in a rubbber band.  It's not at its optimal length.  If you stretch it the knot won't come out.  In fact it will get tighter!  So you have to get the knot out if you want full function of the rubber band (the muscle).
How do you get it out?  Foam rolling is a great inexpensive option. Rolling on a tennis or lacrosse ball is another great tool to get the smaller more precise muscles.  Active Release Technique from a trained practitioner is a great option as well.  So spend at least 10 minutes after each workout training regeneration.  If you don't have time to warm up before the workout and time to recover from it afterwards, you don't have time to workout.  I often have athletes just do the regeneration work if time is an issue or it is an off day.   I know if the tissue quality is there, the next workouts will be tremendous.  So get to work.  

1 comment:

Mike T Nelson said...

I agree that tissue quality is a component, and that hands on work does have a place; but I am not a fan of the foam roller as most do it in pain. As you know, pain has bad effects on the nervous system.

The nervous system runs the show and tells the muscles to be tight/short, etc.

I am a big fan of mobility work, visual and vestibular and hands on work when needed.

Have fun with the bobsled team and good luck!

Rock on
Mike N