B.A.S.E. Sports Conditioning – Articles 21
Get in Line.
The benefits of myo-fascial warm-ups.
By Mike Mejia, CSCS
Athletic warm-ups have changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days when running a quick lap, or two, followed by a few static stretches was considered sufficient preparation prior to training and competition. Instead, today’s athletes opt for a decidedly more dynamic approach to get their bodies ready for battle, and help guard against injuries.
Through the use of various types of mobility and muscle activation drills, they’re able to actively increase range of motion and, in the process, avoid the impairments in strength and power that slow, prolonged pre-event stretching has been shown to produce (1).
While all of this definitely represents a step in the right direction, as our understanding of the body and how it works continues to evolve, so too should our approach to warming up. This is exactly where the premise of training along what are known as “myofascial lines”, comes into play.
To keep things as simple as possible, our fascial system — which lies directly beneath our skin — forms a continuous, three-dimensional structural matrix that surrounds our organs, muscles and bones. Much like a giant latex glove, our fascial interconnects various parts of our body that we might have previously thought to be completely unassociated. Like for example one shoulder to an opposing hip.
If you grab a handful of the shirt that you’re wearing and crumple it in your fist, you’ll gain some insights into how the fascial system works. For instance, you’ll notice that not only is the fabric in your hand misshapen, but there are implications that spread across the entire shirt, where certain areas pull tautly and as a result, cause misalignment in other regions.
The same thing happens when various parts of your body become tight and restricted, and start to have undesirable effects at other points along the kinetic chain. One way to remedy this is to start incorporating the idea of training along myofascial lines to help get your body back to moving the way it was intended to move, before having endured the ravages of endless practicing and playing.
The following on field warm-up will allow you to do exactly that. Requiring nothing other than a simple lacrosse stick, it’s the perfect supplement to the more traditional type of dynamic warm-ups, like you’ll find here. It can even serve as stand alone warm-up for those times when you get to the field a little late, but still want to do something quick to get your body prepped to play.
*Note: Do each movement for 6-12 repetitions (per side where applicable), moving from one to the next until you complete the entire sequence.
|Myofascial Line||Primary Function||Exercise|
|Superficial Back Line||Maintains upright posture||Squat and reach|
|Superficial Front Line||Helps maintain upright posture||Forward lunge and reach|
|Lateral Lines||Maintains stability during lateral and rotational movement||Lean away press|
|Spiral Lines||Create and control rotations||Shovel squat|
1. Squat and Reach: Stand with feet shoulder’s width apart and place the butt of your stick down a couple of feet behind your heels. Hold the top of your stick and then drive your hips back and bend your knees, as you simultaneously reach your arms forward and allow you shoulder blades to come apart slightly. Hold for a second and then stand back up. Repeat until you’ve completed 8-10 reps.
2. Forward Lunge and Reach: Stand with feet about shoulder’s width apart, holding your stick across your upper thighs. Begin by taking a lunge step forward and sinking your hips towards the floor, as you simultaneously bring both arms up overhead and slightly behind your torso. Hold for a second and then lower and repeat to the other side. Repeat until you’ve completed 12-16 repetitionss (6-8 per side).
3. Lean Away Press: Stand with your feet shoulder’s width apart and knees slightly bent holding your stick in front of your collarbone. Begin by pressing the stick up and to one side, as you drive your hips to the other side. Try to keep your legs and elbows fairly straight as you do this. Once you’ve reached your furthest point, pause for a second, then lower back down and repeat to the opposite side. Continue until you’ve completed 12-16 repetitions (6-8 per side).
4. Shovel Squat: Stand with your feet about shoulder’s width apart, holding your stick across your upper thighs. Begin by squatting down to one side and reaching both arms across your body until the stick is just outside your leg, between your knee and ankle. Allow your upper back to round slightly as you do this. Next, press into the ground as you stand out of the squat, bring the stick toward your collarbone and then press up and over your opposite shoulder (as if you’re trying to put something on a high shelf behind you). As you do his, be sure to pivot your foot and hip in the direction of the press. Hold for a second and then return to the bottom position and repeat until you’ve completed 8-10 repetitions and then switch sides.
1. Simic L, Sarabon N, Markovic G.Scand: Does pre-exercise static stretching inhibit maximal muscular performance? A meta-analytical review. J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Feb 8.