Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fascia and the Locomotor Apparatus

What is the "Locomotor Apparatus"? It seems like a fancy word for the human body, but it is more appropriate than you think. Indeed, the human body performs thousands of distinct functions every second of every day of your life. Locomotion (movement) is only one specific function...but one that defines our everyday life and is undetachable from our very existence. Therefore, by definition, anything that regulates locomotion has an undeniable impact on our health and well-being.

One of the big pioneers in the scientific study of fascia is Jaap Van der Wal MD, PhD. He has been "on the fascia bandwagon" since the 80's and is one of the leading resources for the current scientific studie being implemented today. In his article "The Architecture of the Connective Tissue in the Musculoskeletal System" is a fascinating and equally relevant examination of the global implications of connective tissue "skeleton". In addition, it demonstrates that the traditional "anatomists" perception of human movement is somewhat primitive and is a simplistic attempt to explain a complex system.

There are some very enlightening points made in his article:

a) Connective tissue has separate paradoxical functions: It connects AND disconnects

Connection and Disconnection—Two Types
of Fasciae
This view of two types of connectivity is also applicable
to the anatomy of fasciae. In general, fasciae in
the musculoskeletal system exhibit two different mechanical
and functional types:
• There exist muscular fasciae adjacent to spaces
that are filled with loose areolar connective tissue
(“sliding tissue”) and, sometimes, adipose tissue.
They enable the sliding and gliding of muscles
(and tendons) against each other and against other
• There also exist intermuscular and epimysial fasciae
that serve as areas of insertion for neighboring
muscle fibers, which, in this way, can mechanically
reach a skeletal element via those fasciae
without necessarily being attached directly to the

b) Connective Tissue has 2 functional appearances:

Not Only Anatomy, but Also Architecture
In principle, only two kinds of forces have to be transmitted
over synovial joints between the articulating
elements in the locomotor apparatus: forces of compression
and of tension. Compression forces between
the articulating elements are transmitted via the articular
surfaces of the adjacent bone elements. The tractive
forces and mechanical stresses over the synovial joints
are assumed to be transmitted both by passive and by
active components in the musculoskeletal system. Regular
dense connective tissue structures such as ligaments
convey (transmit) those forces “passively.”

As with my previous post, this article is lengthy...but well worth the read. Consider it as another essential addition to your library!

The Architecture of the Connective Tissue in the Musculoskeletal System - An Often Overlooked Functional Pa...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fascial Fitness: Training in the Neuromyofascial Web

This is an excellent article written by Thomas Myers who is one of the pioneers of the "fascial movement". His book called Anatomy Trains is another essential text that every practitioner should own. It is through his work that the role of fascia in the human body is now being understood as fundamentally critical. It is also the scientific basis for the formulation of the Soft Plyometric concept. It is a lengthy article, but if you read it in chunks, it is more digestible. My thanks to Mr. Myers for a well-explained and comprehensive document.

Fascial Fitness Training in the Neuromyofascial Web

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fitness in the Extended Fascial Paradigm

I have gone ahead and posted a more "reader friendly" version of my first post regarding fascia and its role in athletic conditioning. This small pdf is actually intended to be true introduction to the fascia approach from which the Soft Plyometric concept is based. I should have posted this first, but I am sometimes over-anxious and don't pay attention to the order at which things are delivered...sorry about that. The second part of the Soft Plyometrics introduction and the future definition of specific concepts will all be based in the basic theory and central belief system within this document.

Coming Soon: A look into the analytical approach to muscle soreness and muscle stiffness. What is it? Where does it comes from? Are there any other approaches to rehabilitation? How do I approach it from a fitness perspective? Hopefully it will be informative!


Fitness in the Extended Fascial Paradigm - Copy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaking News

Although it will never make CNN anytime soon, I consider the following very positive and encouraging news. As per the blog description, my intention is to stimulate dialogue and the exchange of intelligent ideas between fitness and rehabilitation professionals. I am indeed happy to announce that the first step towards a joint pilot project has been confirmed today between yours truly and Rebecca Foss, owner and “Head Lunatic” at Fitness Asylum near Tampa, Florida USA.

Just what is Fitness Asylum? I can tell you quite confidently that it isn’t a place for those who consider fitness as a “social activity”. Don’t plan on reading a magazine while you are doing your cardio…and don’t bother with doing your hair before you go. It’s serious cutting edge fitness and “only serious applicants need apply”! Go the website and you’ll see why: Kettlebells, training ropes, and medicine balls (among others) are the order of the day.  Paradoxically, it is well equipped with Special Population Training Programs as well. This is precisely the professional attitude and superior frame of mind that separates the true fitness professional from the rest…and I am glad to have the opportunity to share some of my ideas with the “lunatics” who roam the halls of Fitness Asylum.

The pilot project revolves around the implementation of the Soft Plyometrics concept and techniques into the protocols of the serious athletes at Fitness Asylum. As the project evolves, I will be sharing the observations and conclusions on this blog and using this valuable information to formulate improvements and new applications. In order to move forward, you need to push the envelope and step “outside the box”…ask the questions and seek the true answer…and most of all, work just outside your comfort zone.

Much more to come!

Gavin (newly admitted Lunatic)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Introduction to Soft Plyometrics

I have spent the last few years trying to formulate a way to bridge the gap between some of the rehabiliation based experiences I have had and the field of fitness and high performance training. What is the gap? Why is this gap relevant? These are two very good questions that lead to a fundamental response: People who exhibit weakness and injury provide the professional with an "inside look" into the structural, biomechanical, and physiological environment of the high performance athlete. It is through these people that we can observe measurable impact and effect of external stimulus on the tissues. Therefore, it is fundamentally essential to examine the entire spectrum of human performance. The examination and understanding of human performance at its weakest inevitably provides the professional with the intrinsic tools necessary to effect positive potential change in the "strong" individual.
This is an introduction to Soft Plyometrics...a term I have coined for the simple reason it has similar targets and objectives as plyometrics but at different points in the periodizaed program or fitness protocol. Specific exercises and application guidelines will follow in a second posting called Essentials of Soft Plyometrics. Cheers!

PS: I have used an external site called Scribd which is very useful...however you will need to allow a second or two to let the slide load as you flip through them.

Soft Plyometrics© - Copy

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coming Soon: Soft Plyometrics

For all the gym rats, fitness buffs, and intellectual fitness practitioners...I am currently generating a new post that will introduce what i call "Soft Plyometrics". I have spent some time formulating a way to introduce the fascial paradigm into the fitness world, and I think that Soft Plyometrics finally solves that problem. Keep an eye out for the next post which will hopefully be complete and readable next week. Although its "release" is hardly worthy of a motion picture analogy, consider this a teaser trailer! Cheers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Of the Month Club

Perhaps I should say BOOKS...because there are 2 books I would highly recommend for 2 very different reasons. The first one could be perhaps the most enlightening text I have come across to date. Not only does it put human development into perspective, but it essentially bridges the gap between most therapeutic challenges and therapeutic solutions. It has proven to be a major eye-opener and I can comfortably classify it as my "new bible". This text is called "The Endless Web".

I am obviously a big fan of having a well-defined rationale for any and all rehabilitative protocols...therefore having a text such as this, in my personal and professional opinion, is essential in establishing solid fundamentals.

My second recommendation is more of a personal one. I have had the pleasure and honour of working with an amazing family from the U.S. who not only inspire me greatly, but have my utmost respect and admiration. People are shaped by their experiences...both good and bad...and subsequently have an effect and influence on those they meet. The family I am refering to is the Dzialo family. Although I only see them once a year, they continue to impress me with their work ethic, their attitude, and their superior frame of mind. Their story has recently been published in a book called "Ceramic To Clay".

This is Adam's story written by his mother, Sharon Dzialo, in the most thoughtful and insightful way. It isnt just a good is a glimpse into the life of an amazing person and family that will teach you a good lesson (or lessons, to be precise) in life. It was indeed an honour when I recieved a copy of Sharon's book (sent all the way to my home in Argentina!) and I can't thank her enough for sharing her story with me. Everyone should upgrade their library and pick it up...I have read the book AND met the people, and I can tell tell you neither disappoint!

Happy reading!