Updated: May 7
Fascia is the broad term for the connective tissue that weaves throughout the entire body to stabilize and bind the muscles, bones, and organs together. It makes up our tendons, ligaments, and over 30% of our muscles.
Fascia has 6-10x more neuro receptors than muscles. In other words, this is where our reaction lives. So it responds quicker to things like balance and reflexes to help us live healthier, move better, and age more gracefully.
Believe it or not, the majority of our flexibility and limitation in movement comes from the restrictions in our fascia.
The majority of traditional stretching tends to focus on a single joint or muscle group. This is similar to stretching a plastic band, but only the middle of the bad. Working into fascial conditioning or stretching, however, is like holding a plastic bag from both ends and stretching it evenly across the entire bag, rather than just in the middle. If you work to stretch the fascia as a whole, along the entire fascial line, you increase your potential to be more flexible.
When fascia loses its elasticity due to inactivity, aging, and lack of mobility, our bodies lose their youthful bounce and we feel achy, sore, and unable to perform optimally in physical activities.
One way to train the fascia is by using dynamic rebounding movements to condition the elastic properties of the fascia. It takes anywhere from 0.8 to 1.2 seconds per rep for these elastin fibers to get stressed enough to elicit change. These low impact movements or "stretches" reorganize our fascia into supple, reactive bands, which dramatically increase our range of motion, athleticism, and mobility.
Another way to train the fascia is by conditioning it's plastic properties. Eventually, the elasticity stops and you get into plasticity which usually requires holds in length of 5-8+ breaths. That's a fancy way of saying, plasticity is all about extending the length and retaining that extended shape. When fascia is stretched past its elastic qualities for longer periods of time, the bands that hold the fascia together are altered and new bonds form. The remolding of the fascia promotes improved mobility by reducing tension and rigidity.
When training these facial properties, I like to use reps and sets to construct different workouts, each going after a different fascial line. The reps and sets are used because to build something, like fascial mobility & strength, it takes repetition. These reps are what create the action that tells the body this is what needs to be accomplished. So the reps lay down the lattice for the body to upon. Then by separating the body into different groups, you could effectively develop a program without over or under-doing the action it takes to spark that growth.
You also build a lot of strength when building fascia due to the use of reciprocal inhibition to get deeper into the stretch. This technique requires us to flex one side to allow the other side wants to open up more.
It takes a lot of time to rebuild the fascia, and because of limited blood supply, it doesn’t tend to heal or recover as fast as muscle or other tissue. So when building fascia, it’s key to take your time, stay consistent, and be patient. I'll tell you now, due to collagen's relatively larger half-life, it could take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years until you finally experience massive gainz.
Here's an example workout that I like to do.
( *Click here if you just want me to show you now!)
This one targets your fascial front and arm lines.
20 reps Elastic: Up Dog
20 reps Elastic: Down Dog
10 reps Elastic: Thoracic Bridge with Fingers Pointed Out
20 reps Elastic: Active Split, Right
20 reps Elastic: Active Split, Left
30 sec Plastic: Up Dog
30 sec Plastic: Down Dog
30 sec Plastic Thoracic Bridge with Fingers Pointed Out
30 reps Plastic: Active Split, Right
30 reps Plastic: Active Split, Left
Want to try it out?
Here's a link to a video where I run you through the entire 22-minute sequence!