The majority of exercise enthusiasts experience it: a gradual decline in ability, often attributed to age and accompanied by pain. However, that is an imprecise conclusion. To be accurate, it is the “mileage without maintenance”, rather than father time, that causes the physical decline and pain most people experience. Here’s an example:
An avid and accomplished strength athlete has developed the capacity to back squat 275lbs for 10 reps (that may not sound like much to gym rats, but few people in the gym can do 10 “green light” squats with 275). In his ambition to further improve his “quantity of squat” he aims to get stronger, until he can perform 10 squats with 365lbs. Along the way, he incurs an escalating rate of wear and tear injuries: back, knees, etc. He does make it to 365lbs for 10 reps, but in the process he has accumulated “mileage without maintenance” on his body that won’t enable him to keep his achievement because he has neglected his “quality of squat”. His “muscle strength” is better than ever, his “muscle memory” however, is getting worse, because he is neglecting it. Eventually, an injury curtail his strength as well, and he is unable to continue squatting at all. He now is relegated to the scrap heap of has beens that rely on the leg press.
The quantity of squat, the quality of squat, and bridge between quantity and quality. It is the bridge (functional fascial integration) that is the key to achieving and maintaing total (quantity and quality) performance.
It’s a common scenario among strength athletes…but also other athletes as well. In the pursuit of “quantity of performance”…to be bigger, stronger, faster; often we neglect “quality of performance”, which is the foundation that quantity relies upon. Quality of performance is dependent good bio-mechanics. Think of it this way: if posture is a photograph, bio-mechanics is a video. To keep it simple, I will refer to “muscle memory” as the linchpin of bio-mechanics. So…to summarize
Restored muscle memory=good bio-mechanics=quality of performance(movement).
Any program of exercise MUST include methods to restore and maintain quality of movement. To neglect this is to inevitably incur injury. The most useful method I know to achieve this is Functional Fascial Integration.
What makes it useful is:
- It is a system using simple tools that can be performed with a partner
- A great deal of it can be performed by yourself and it’s easy to learn
- It can fit seamlessly into any exercise routine during rest periods
- You don’t have to be an anatomy expert to utilize it
A simple explanation of would be:
- You brush and floss your muscles and joints in the same way you brush and floss your teeth and gums…for the same reason to prevent decay and scar tissue.
- Tangible improvement is generally immediate…yes, that is not a typo. Immediate.
- Improvement is also cumulative and like brushing and flossing, permanent when consistent
When using functional fascial integration you movement quality is likely to improve as you get older! While it is likely that strength will gradually decline as your hormone levels drop (politically correct way of saying getting old)…this need not affect your ability to move…and most importantly move pain free.
A long term approach to training to create sustainable results would focus as much on quality movement as quantity movement…in that order. Before you stack another 45 on each side of the bar, try the face the wall squat test in the picture shown. If you can’t do it without your knees, hands, or head hitting the wall, you should get to work on your movement quality before you add weight to your exercise. Do this your overall ability at age 65 will surpass that of most people half your age.
Pain is an indication of movement restriction. Brush and floss it away. Soon, I will tell you how in detail. For now, memorize this mantra:
Stretch it out, smooth it out, move it out!