Rolling the Hot Spots: Stretching Using the Kinetic Foam Rolling Loop
Every athlete should train addressing the five components of fitness in order to achieve peak performance. The five components are as follows: Aerobic endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. As the average or elite endurance athlete trains, he or she continually observes both their aerobic and muscular endurance because of its effect on body composition. Usually, improving muscular strength is done in the off season when one builds a stronger fitness foundation as well as increasing the athlete’s strength to weight ratio. Muscle flexibility is the component of fitness often downplayed or neglected by many athletes.
Most people wonder why flexibility is important to peak performance. The normal range of motion becomes altered as we get older and creates postural distortion patterns. A cumulative injury cycle is caused by postural distortion patterns. If we lose muscle elasticity, a component of the muscular makeup, athletic injuries may increase. Professionals usually treat this with practical stretching which, if properly done, improves flexibility and increases elasticity. There are two important factors that influence or inhibit flexibility: the golgi-tendon organ (GTO) and the muscle spindle. The Golgi Tendon Organs are receptors for stimuli and are sensitive to changes in tension and rate of tension change on the muscle. GTO are usually located at both ends of the muscle for the lengthening reaction. The problem is that it is difficult to stretch or activate the golgi-tendon and the muscle spindle. The golgi tendon takes a stretch that is active static stretch (applied constant force) resistance to the muscle which last longer than 15 seconds, which then causes the GTO receptor to release and increase muscle length. The muscle spindle, on the other hand, is usually activated when tension or pressure is activated from a stretch with pressure to the muscle. Scholars recently discovered that 80-90 pounds of pressure can increase elasticity.
As a cyclist or tri-athlete you may be wondering why this is important to you. Your muscle is like a rubber band and the further you stretch it the further the rubber band will launch when you let it go. Your muscle is just like that rubber band; if you can increase your elasticity in the muscle by improving your flexibility, the result will be increased power and improved performance. Foam rolling, also known as self myofascia release, is like getting a massage without the expense of a massage therapist.
In this article, I will give you the most effective instruction for foam rolling all muscle groups, increasing muscle flexibility, promoting body mobility, and releasing pain and tension in all major chronic pain areas, our muscles and joints. These exercises will release and reorganize your musculature (also known as self myofascia release) , as well as your skeletal system, aligning it more positively with gravity. In addition, foam rolling addresses and reduces the “Hot Spots” where pain and tension has gathered in the body. Plus, foam rolling improves balance, body awareness, and dynamic strength. For sports, dancers, and rehabilitation coaches, massage therapists, Pilate instructors, and athlete’s, the foam roller is rapidly becoming the tool of necessity for achieving peak athletic performance and as a tool warding off physical injury. Muscle pulls, strains, tears, and breaking of bones can be avoided by increasing flexibility and improving skeletal alignment. They are the perfect compliment to the Kinetic Loop movement because they speed up the process of loosening the body.
Foam rollers are a great investment too. They usually cost under $40 which is less than the price of a single massage. It’s like having your own physical therapist, chiropractor, and masseuse available and ready. Most importantly, they can break the pain cycle that hinders and stops athletes from training, increases muscular flexibility, and opens the door for athletes to achieve their peak performance. One session with a foam roller is all an athlete needs in order to be convinced that this tool is a miracle breakthrough in improving fitness. Once you begin using foam rolling techniques you will wonder how you ever got along without them.