Most athletes and individuals who take some time out of their day to train are serious about achieving some type of results. They will put in quite a bit of time into training utilizing things like strength training, speed and agility training, crossfit, some form of cardiovascular exercise, or possibly a challenge-based event like the Tough Mudder. All of these countless hours spent doing some form of training and yet many people will not achieve the results that they are looking for. The reasons can vary from lack of motivation to life getting in the way. Whatever the reason, the individual gets frustrated and the stop and start syndrome of working out continues throughout their lifetime.
Training has to be looked at as a multi-faceted protocol and all aspects have to be working synergistically in order to achieve successful results. Other aspects that are overlooked are nutritional protocol, recovery, stretching and foam rolling. All of these things play intrical roles in order to make the body function properly. Nutritionally an individual must meet the desired needs of the body in order to have sufficient energy response for varying exercise based activities.
Recovery is often an area that is overlooked when talking about proper training protocol. The best advice I can give someone is to listen to their body and if your body is starting to accumulate some nagging injuries and you are sick all the time. You need some REST. As far as an appropriate amount of time that a person needs to rest varies on the individual. As a good rule of thumb, a person should typically have at least two days off per week in which the body is not doing anything exercise based. Some people may require more or less than this recommendation depending on how badly you are taxing your exercise limits.
Stretching is also a crucial component of the training protocol, yet most athletes overlook the benefits and time it takes to do such a thing. Before an individual takes part in any form of activity there should be a warm-up to raise the body’s core temperature and loosen things up. No activity should typically take place until the person has broken a sweat and is properly warmed up. The warm up may consist of some controlled ballistic movements that are similar in function to the activity that is going to be taken place.
Foam rolling is another great modality to be used to help further the training experience of an individual. Here is an excerpt from Stacey Penney, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS on what this exactly is. Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique that has been embraced throughout the fitness industry. This effective and simple to do technique delivers positive, feel good results. Foam rollers have become easily accessible, either shared at the gym or found in almost any sporting goods aisle to bring home for a minimal investment. Using the foam roller can deliver improvements in flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just minutes of application.
SMR can be done with a variety of tools beyond foam rollers, such as medicine balls, handheld rollers or other assistive devices. Foam rollers vary in density, surface structure, and even temperature modifications. Whatever the tool or variation selected, SMR focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body that can be negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, or dysfunctional movements (1). These mechanically stressful actions are recognized as an injury by the body, initiating a repair process called the Cumulative Injury Cycle (Figure 1) (1). This cycle follows a path of inflammation, muscle spasm, and the development of soft tissue adhesions that can lead to altered neuromuscular control and muscle imbalance (1-4). The adhesions reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and can eventually cause a permanent change in the soft tissue structure, referred to as Davis’s Law. SMR focuses on alleviating these adhesions (also known as “trigger points” or “knots”) to restore optimal muscle motion and function (1,5). SMR is based on the principal of autogenic inhibition. Skeletal muscle tissue contains muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs (GTO), two neural receptors. Muscle spindles are sensory receptors running parallel to muscle fibers, sensitive to a change and rate of muscle lengthening. When stimulated, they will cause a myotatic stretch reflex that causes the muscle to contract. The GTO receptors, located in the musculotendinous junctions, are stimulated by a change and rate of tension, and when they are stimulated will cause the muscle to relax (2). When a change in tension is sustained at an adequate intensity and duration, muscle spindle activity is inhibited causing a decrease in trigger point activity, accompanied by a reduction of pain (1,6-7). In simpler terms, when the pressure of the body against the foam roller is sustained on the trigger point, the GTO will “turn off” the muscle spindle activity allowing the muscle fibers to stretch, unknot, and realign (5).
The Benefits of SMR SMR benefits include:
Correction of muscle imbalances Muscle relaxation (1,2)
Improved joint range of motion Improved neuromuscular efficiency (1,3,4)
Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery (1)
Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain (2,6,7)
Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity (1)
Provide optimal length-tension relationships Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system (1)
In conclusion, if you feel as though you are not making any progress with your desired training, try utilizing the modalities listed above to take your workout to the next level. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 610 334-4120.