Physical Therapy

This section provides an overview for the various rehab guides on the site:

Avoiding becoming injured is probably the last thing on your mind if you are just getting started or already healthy.

If you don’t take the proper precautions, however, you are going to develop imbalances and muscular deficiencies that will lead to injuries later on down the road. Lifting and working out isn’t a sprint to the finish line–it is a marathon.

Most of the time, training injuries are not caused by a singular event. Instead, they are caused by developing poor movement patterns through using improper or even just sub-optimal form over a long enough time period. This includes day-to-day posture as well.

What is the best solution to these issues?

Stretching, followed by myofascial release, followed immediately by progressive resistance.

Stretching is pretty straight forward, but what exactly is myofascial release? It is a form of therapy that focuses on soft tissue.

It is used to handle muscular immobility and pain by helping to relieve tension and stress that has accumulated during working out and basic day-to-day life.

Additionally, it helps to promote better blood flow and circulation; some studies also suggest that it may help build upon the “stretch reflex” found in muscles.

But, how exactly does rolling around on a ball or a foam roller help provide those benefits?

It all comes down to your fascia. Fascia is a thin, yet tough connective piece of tissue that wraps around your muscles. Chicken breast is a perfect example.

You know that thin white film around raw chicken? That’s fascia. It’s role is to support and protect your muscle tissue.

This layer becomes extremely tight and inhibited if you workout consistently (which, you will if you follow an intelligent training plan with enough effort).

Foam rolling and performing myofascial release provides a neuromuscular stimulation to the fascia surrounding your tender and sore muscles.

If you have ever stubbed your finger in a door and then blown on it or shaken it–you were doing the same thing. You were providing an additional stimulation to your finger to mask the more painful one.

Making sure to develop your musculature evenly with the proper amount of stretching and myofascial release will leave your body happy, healthy, and constantly progressing.

  • Foam Rolling. This is an absolute must that needs to be done on a daily basis. This is going to make up the sweet sauce of your recovery protocol. Some of the areas to focus on include:
    • Upper Thoracic Area
    • Lats
    • Lower Back
    • Glutes
    • Iliotibial Band (IT Band)
    • Quads
    • Calves
  • Using a Lacrosse Ball. This goes hand in hand with the foam roller above. A lacrosse ball is an amazing tool for your glutes, shoulder capsule, and chest.
  • Static Stretching. Traditional stretching movements.

Some fitness “experts” claim that static stretching before a workout is a bad idea because it loosens your muscles and makes them contract with less force.

But when you are lifting weights, what are you actually doing? You are contracting the muscle group and then stretching it. That’s it. There isn’t anything complex about the actual phenomenon of a muscle being worked out.

One thing to note though: if you stretch while your muscles are cold, they will be more likely to maintain their new level of flexibility.

Basically, try to stretch out prior to ever doing any other type of warm-up. This doesn’t negate the benefits of stretching after your workout when your muscles are warm though, so make sure to do it at both times!

  • Dynamic Stretching: This is the other side of the coin in a discussion about stretching in particular. Dynamic stretching is key to perform right before you begin lifting. On lower-body focused days I will complete my dynamic stretching and warm-up right before I step under the bar for the first time. I then continue to perform my dynamic warm-up as I complete my initial sets with lighter weight. I have found this combination to be extremely powerful.
  • Mobility: This is kind of a catch-all phrase that just refers to your ability to get into and out of strong positions. What makes up a strong position? Biomechanical Advantages. That’s a big word that may scare you off, but don’t let it. Basically, your body is just a collection of levers and muscles all attached together. And, just like with any other machine, your body has stronger levers and weaker levers. It also has certain positions that provide the best physical (aka in relation to physics/science) advantages and will lead to the most weight lifted. The easiest way for me to describe my mobility routine is to show you a video.