January 20, 2011 by Gary McCoy
Fascia- it’s that sausage skin that surrounds the muscles. For decades we treated it just like a sausage skin- something we simply chewed through to get to the meat. But we are learning that the Fascia contains more than meets the eye. Canadian researchers Driscoll and Blyum first noted the effect that facia has on the mechanical work of the musculature: “It appears that altered fascial properties influence musculoskeletal mechanics by shifting internal muscular stress distributions” . Marcus and Kuchera go a step further by stating that “Fascia is continuous throughout the human body and can provide support and communication to muscles, joints, nerves, vessels, and organs”.
When the Australian National Team General manager once asked me what were the two things I needed the most for our athletes during the World Baseball Classic in Mexico City and the follow-on International World Cup tournaments, my response was simple- (1) Foam Rolls. A close second was a TRX product for strength maintenance.
Self -Myofascial Release is a important aspect of any athletes overall conditioning. Approached correctly it will reduce baseball injuries significantly. Rolling and holding tender spots (for 30 seconds) assists in “reprogramming” the facia which ultimately affects the mechanical movement of the muscular system. This simple accountable process can be done anytime- anywhere- by any athlete. The investment is small- the rewards- enormous.
I no longer flinch at the foam rolls taking up space in the overhead flight cabin, or when they bounce down the ramp in baggage claim. These tubes help me understand what my athlete is experiencing and ultimately keeps him or her healthy for all mechanical workloads.