Muscle Balance & Flexibility
Updated: Feb 15
My topic today was to explain the negative affects of muscle imbalance, namely “tight” muscles. While this is in fact a relevant topic of discussion, I believe we should avoid the mechanical and Newtonian principles that have been applied to the human anatomy for far too long. If you are familiar with my methodology and study, you have heard me speak on the industry and it’s direction in fitness training. We have seen the rise and fall of many trends as fitness professionals, but a very select few of us have been able to maintain our mission. Most either conform to new trends or fall with the old.
As the recent years have developed you may have noticed an uprise in the word “movement”, and with that has blossomed hundreds of certifications and courses made available to personal trainers and physical therapists to “specialize” in a particular niche within “movement” wellness. This has really nailed down the origin - insertion anatomy and bio mechanical mind set for practitioners.
Let’s take a moment and step back from our “Specialist” views, and explore a more holistic approach.
200,000 generations ago, not years. We stood up on our feet and presented the front side of our body to the world.
30,000 generations ago we became the only species to have ever tamed fire. We have found evidence of ashes in archaeology of human habitation from 600,000 years ago.
Bare with me, we’re going places with this...
For 600 generations our DNA has become accustomed to farm work and cultivated foods. That’s 12,000 years of agriculture.
Finally for 20 generations we started making things. Industry. Everything we have learned about the body is based off of our mechanical bias.
If I ask you “what’s the heart like?” You would probably say “a pump”. The brain? A computer. This is an extremely understating view of the human anatomy. But our text books all live by this. Therefore our physical education is suffering and Anatomy Training is much more than lifting weight.
The aforementioned facts of our progress defining our human ability, have lead us further and further away from nature. Our advancement on the planet has carried some consequences, including our deviation from natural human movements. The greats of anatomical study today have rejected the modern ideology of mechanical perspective and our research has shed light on the most innervated organ of the body.
Fascial Integration is a technique I have been practicing with my clients for a number of years. Until I began fully understanding the totality of the fascial system, I was seeing hit or miss results with correcting symptomatic pain and postural deviations. As a Hip and Shoulder Mobility Specialist, I was taught specific assessments and exercises to correct local dysfunction. However, I was frequently experiencing clients with identical symptoms and assessment results having different outcomes after movement work. Some would heal and correct, while others would plateau.
Why is this?
Fascia is densely packed collagen fibers that encompass individual parts and organs of our body. For the sake of conversation, imagine it as a net that wraps your muscles and organs. The larges chain of fascia runs from the sole of your foot, up the back of your legs, over the posterior hip, up the spine and neck, all the way to the top of your head. It’s called the Posterior Fascial Meridian and any altered area of this large chain can and will eventually cause symptoms ANYWHERE in that chain.
This absolutely means that your tight calves can cause hip, back, shoulder, neck dysfunction and or pain. Your hamstring could lead to plantar fasciitis, but we will never know, unless we understand the principles of fascial integration.
So what I’m saying is this,
The way that your toes impact the ground during the gait cycle can lead to a hip replacement later in life and you don’t find many doctors or PT’s observing your toes after the onset of hip problems.
This is preventative healthcare I’m talking about here. It’s also healing and retarding progression of existential anatomical disorders. The techniques used are relatively new to the industry but the science behind optimal human movement are generations old. We must step back from the tunnel vision of localized treatment and be more intentional in contributing to the body as one unit.
It’s too soon in this revolution to conclude on what the body will become, but in the past two generations we have been introduced to the electronic age and with that we need to be focusing on original movement. The human anatomy is no longer showing benefit from repetitive movements. Our physical training has to change, and our curriculum and methods of past are just that. Outdated.
Okay back to earth.
So peering back into my assignment today regarding “tight” musculature; yes there is a such thing. Yes you can see benefits from working with tight musculature and that’s what we do. Every day. However, what’s most important about addressing the issues associated with tightness in our musculoskeletal system goes beyond stretching the symptomatic muscle itself and leads us deeper to a more integrated and systematic approach. One that is being sold short by the majority of Anatomy involved professionals today.
Conclusively, there’s a lot more to it than what I spoke on in this article. It is my job to find and promote true anatomical hygiene. This means that when you step into our meeting, it’s your whole body I am working with. Not just your tight hammies. If you found this article to be interesting I would love to talk more with you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
“That’s neat Chaz, but I’m just looking to get in better shape.”
Ask a race car engineer for an oil change and it will be the best oil change your car has ever had.
I am imaging great things for all of you this year. Health, happiness, and prosperity. Be true to your mind and body this year and everything else will become easier.
Chaz Tierney MES, ICEI, IASTM