Monday, June 14, 2010

Fascia - New ideas on generating power

I've been doing some preliminary research and reading on fascia. Fascia is a band of fibrous gel- like connective tissue that runs all through our bodies. It surrounds our muscles and essentially is part of all our movement.

Recent research is indicating that fascia plays far more of a role in the generation of power and strength. Some are theorizing that there really are no isolation movements for muscles. Fascia plays a part in all movement.

This elastic type skeletal covering acts like a rubber band. If you can stretch it and release, lots of power is generated.

An athlete trainer I know tried to explain some of what fascia does and how manipulating it can cure or improve other areas. And the area where the problem surfaces may not be where you treat it. (anyone see a traditional Chinese medicine tie-in?).

The trainer said when you tuck in a dress shirt too tightly, you have trouble raising you arms all the way above your head, indicating a shoulder mobility problem. By loosening the shirt at the waist, un-tucking it a little bit, you can easily lift your arm. Fascia is sort of like the shirt. Stretch it properly and other problems can clear up.

This is an oversimplification of course, but it gives an idea.

It is theorized that Bruce Lee's one inch punch is a result of a healthy fascia and his ability to use his body as one, stretching and snapping his rubber band like fascia.

Fascia also learns to adapt to what it's subjected to over time. This may be why our hip movement is so poor. Being a generation that spends that majority of it's time sitting, the fascia adapts to being in this position. This is why it's so important to stretch out your hips.

Martial artists know that power comes from the hips, so this is particularly relevant. Active functional stretching is important for mobility, power and injury prevention.

I will continue to research these findings and see if adding some of the recommendations has a positive impact on my training and movement.


  1. I love that shirt-tuck reference. I will definitely have to keep that in mind both when thinking about fascia and trying to explain it.

  2. Thanks for you comment. That reference sort of tied it all together for me. Train safely.