Why it’s important to be Strong

The origin of these posts is from emails I send to a database of my clients from MMT where I work. I had great feedback about the #JERF and compression post’s over the last week from those guys, I hope you enjoyed it too!

Let’s talk today about why it’s important for your body to be strong. I’ll cover in the coming weeks why I use a certain method of strengthening over others when working with clients.

If you come in for treatments you will often hear me talking about ‘getting your body (or a specific part of it) strong’, obviously there are different types and levels of strength but the idea is to be “strong enough to support your body through the things in life that you want to do”. I like to call it Practical Strength. 

It doesn’t matter if what you want to do is run a marathon, pick up small cars like this guy, do the gardening, or simply be strong enough to support yourself through a happy and healthy life, it’s important to have strength available to you when you need it.

Why is it important?

When you don’t have appropriate strength to do a task that you want to do, your body will find alternative ways to offer support to itself. Often this involves tightening and thickening of the connective tissue, including fascia and muscle, as a means of offering more structured support. When this tissue thickens you start to lose the ability to move effectively. Think of it as the the body sacrificing some of it’s mobility so it can increase it’s stability (there are other reasons why your tissue tightens up but we’ll just focus on this today).

It is this tight and thick tissue that you get worked on during a Solidified Connective Tissue (SCT) Release treatment; You know that really not-painful at all hands on work I do to you on the table 😉

Now you understand why it is important to have strength, you may be wondering how you should go about ‘getting strong’. If we’ve talked about it in the clinic you’ll know we use a technique called Neuro-Muscular Facilitation Power Training, or NMF Power Training. Most of you probably just know it as just; ‘lifting’. NMF Power Training is unique in that it stretches the tight thickened tissue and strengthens areas of weakness in the same movement.

NMF Power training is particularly effective as you use enough resistance to engage muscular and neural pathways that don’t normally get used in your everyday life, even if you go to the gym or do Pilates.

NB: I could write a whole other article on why NMF Power Training is more effective than Pilates when it comes to rehabilitation but luckily someone else has already done that for me – check it out here. Long story short – functional strength training activates the deep stabilising muscles of the body and Pilates doesn’t. Read the article if you want to find out more.

I’ll continue the discussion on why it’s important that you strengthen your body another time and I’ll go into more detail on how we go about doing this at MMT and I’ll give you some great ideas and tips on how to go about doing it yourself.

Stay Strong!

Matt

Is compression gear worth it?

There’s a lot of great marketing out there regarding compression gear, but does it live up to it’s own hype or does it just look good? Fellas… here’s a free tip to get us started – it doesn’t look good without shorts over the top or in white or beige.

Let’s look at what the manufacturers claim, break it down according to available research, then I’ll throw in my two cents using personal experience.

I have listed below a variety of claims made by some of the major brands about their compression wear. I’ve then sat down and done the hard work for you, looking through independent studies to see if the claims can be validated (references included).


I’ve decided to put my Verdict in first as the research information may be a little overwhelming and technical for some and I know you really just want to find out if you should outlay up to $200 (I wouldn’t) for a pair of tights.

THE VERDICT

All in all the rationale for wearing compression gear is solid, but concrete evidence from clinical trials is weak. Varying from –  There ‘may’ be benefits for recovery to “compression stockings fail to enhance performance”.

While some studies find physiological benefits, such as increased blood flow, increased muscle oxygenation, decreased lactic acid build up and decreased muscle oscillation, the theoretical benefits from this don’t  necessarily translate to noticeable performance benefits in all cases.

However, and this is as good a reason as any to own a pair; many people love the feel of them and anecdotally, many people who try them find they provide a performance boost and that they feel better afterwards. So if you think it works, it does work. Placebo effect or not, I know that if I train wearing compression gear I don’t get as sore than if I train without it and that’s good enough for me.

Given that there’s no evidence of any negative effects, if they feel good and put you in a sporting frame of mind, go for it!

WHICH ONES ARE BEST?

There is no particular brand that stands out as being better than another in studies, from cheapies to top-of-the-range (thats why I wouldn’t outlay $200). I own two different brands because they fit me well, not because of what they claim on the label. One of them also has a cool spartan warrior helmet on the thigh (lets be honest here… a large part of your decision is based on what they look like and who else wears them 😉

The main thing is that they feel comfortable and you feel good wearing them.

If you think it’s worth getting some gear you can check out a variety of brands at Optomo*, they usually have quite a few on sale too! or head into your local sports shop etc and try a few on. The tighter the better!


THE CLAIMS AND THE RESEARCH

  • Increased performance
    • One study demonstrated that lower-limb compression garments may lower the effort perception associated with 400-m performance, despite there being no differences in overall athletic performance(source)
    • Another study demonstrated that compression garments may limited muscle soreness, but insignificantly. The results of this study support that compression stockings fail to enhance performance(source)
    • This study showed that compressive garments significantly reduced impact force by 27% compared with American football pants alone. Through various mechanisms, these findings may translate into an effect on athletic performance and a reduction in injuries. (source)
  • Aids in explosive power / Heighten power and ability
    • The compressive garment had no effect on the maximal power of the highest jump in either men or women. These data indicate that compression shorts do not improve maximal jump power output. (source)
  • Lowers energy cost 
    • The improvement in energy cost was attributed to better muscle coordination and greater propulsive force, due to reduced muscle oscillation. (source)
  • Reduced muscle oscillation and therefore reduced muscle damage and fatigue
    • The compressive garment significantly reduced impact force by 27% compared with American football pants alone. (source)
    • A compression garment also significantly reduced the vertical velocity (oscillation) of muscle movement upon landing. (source)
    • An enhanced mean power output during the repetitive maximal jump test was observed when wearing a compression garment. The performance improvement observed may be due to reduced muscle oscillation upon impact, psychological factors, and/or enhanced joint position sense. (source)
  • Increased circulation
    • The original use for compression wear was to assist people with circulatory dysfunction. The principle of compressive support is to artificially increase extravascular pressure. However – medical compression is rated on a scale of 1-4, and I am led to believe that none of the ‘sporting’ compression gear comes close to being a medically rated 1. Limiting how much actual compression is being applied.
  • UV rating 
    • They all claim approx spf 50+ UV protection. I didn’t bother looking for research here, it should be pretty clear that wearing something will reduce your exposure to the sun.
  • Speed muscle recovery time
    • A whole body compression garment worn during the 24-hour recovery period after an intense heavy resistance training workout enhances various psychological, physiological, and a few performance markers of recovery compared with non-compressive control garment conditions. The use of compression appears to help in the recovery process after an intense heavy resistance training workout in men and women(source)

Hope this was useful for you! Leave me a comment if you’ve tried compression gear before or you’re thinking about it!

*The Tigerbalm Warrior participates in the Optomo affiliate program. Whenever you make a purchase from Optomo using a provided link, a 10% commission is received. This doesn't affect your purchase price and the price is the same as if you went to the site directly. I recommend Optomo as it has a wide range of products and brands and has great pricing and shipping. I purchase most of my gear there and it just works. If you find a better deal elsewhere, GO FOR IT! (and let me know too)
Aside

Fascia, Keeping it Healthy (Pt 2)

Part 2 of Josh from mskrehab’s Fascia series. This time how you can help to keep your fascia healthy.

mskrehab

Welcome back,

 

Hopefully we’ve absorbed a little bit about fascial structure and the importance of it for everyday function. Today we are going to discuss how we make our fascia healthy again and how to maintain its function.

There are many factors influencing fascial structure. Before we dive into that, lets recap some key points from part one:

 

1) Our fascial system is like a network of rivers, which transport mechanical stress throughout the body.
2) It’s essential for our river (ECM) to stay fresh and flowing
3) Fascia is innovated with lots of sensory detectors
4) A weak link in fascia can produce pain elsewhere due to large connections between muscles
5) Structural shape is guaranteed by a 3D tensional model, not compression or stacking.

Is my fascia ‘bad’?
There are many contributing factors that result in a structural change of fascia. Using our river analogy we…

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