Every time that I walk into a commercial gym I am amazed at what I don’t see. I rarely, if ever, see any type of dynamic warm up which I thought was an aspect of strength and conditioning had worked its way into programs of weekend warriors. I hate to break it to you, but the 5 minute walk on the treadmill or ride on the bike isn’t cutting it – but that’s an argument for another time and place.
It’s even rarer to see someone performing any type of mobility or stability work, and it’s safe to say that I never see anyone performing any type of activation work – I’m sure weekend warriors will pick up on these issues from physical therapists and strength coaches in due time, but at this point I’m not surprised these issues haven’t reached the masses yet. Again, this is an argument for another time and place.
What really amazes me is the lack tissue work people are performing (or not performing). I truly believe that if people, whether an athlete or a weekend warrior, wants to move better and feel better, attacking their tissue quality is paramount, yet virtually no one performs it. It can help with tight muscles, mobility issues, and recovery from previous workouts. Furthermore, I contend that many injuries could be avoided by simply having quality tissue.
At both UNH and MBSC all of our athletes spend ample time working on their tissue quality before each training session and many spend time on their own trying to improve their tissue quality. The athletes actually look forward to it and don’t need any prompting from coaches, especially in-season when their bodies become more and more beat up.
What makes it even more bizarre to me is how effortless and easy it is to improve tissue quality. All you need is a $15 foam roller and/or a $2 lacrosse ball and a couple of minutes. You can do it while watching television or while you’re waiting for dinner to come out of the oven. Jump on the foam roller and find those trigger points/painful spots and go to work. If you’re a little more advanced and need a little more than the foam roller, grab a lacrosse ball and really target those trigger points – and trust me, you’ll never get to the point where a lacrosse ball doesn’t get the job done.
Long story short, improving your tissue quality is one of the most important things you can do if you want to feel better and move better. I have yet to find someone who has a massage and walks away feeling worse than they did when they walked in – they feel and move better than they did before the session. Do yourself a favor and make it a priority to spend at least 15 minutes improving tissue quality on a daily basis – you won’t regret it.