I am a skeptic, known for my criticisms of stretching. However, I do enjoy stretching, and even I believe that diligent stretching can increase flexibility, because that’s the one effect of stretching that research has backed up. So for thirty days this summer I optimistically stretched my hamstrings — an experiment in the “lab of me.” I was truly disciplined: four full minutes of intense stretching per leg, per day. I did every stretch in a piping hot steam room, which is usually considered an ideal circumstance for stretching, whether that is true or not. What happened? Read the rest of this entry
This is a surprisingly in-depth article about a single simple idea: hip weakness, a rising-star of running injury risk factors. In recent years, hip weakness or “dead butt syndrome” has become the most popular new scapegoat for running injuries like iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). I don’t think that runners can get excited yet. In fact, I think we shouldn’t: I just don’t think the evidence is compelling enough to “believe” in hip strengthening as a prevention or therapy for any condition. Read the rest of this entry
The Foam Roller Isn’t Doing What You Think It’s Doing.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing anything.
If you’ve made to a gym or dance studio, oh, anytime in the past decade you’ve probably noticed a not insignificant number of people sitting on white plastic cylinders. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself. This practice is, of course, foam rollingand involves placing your body’s weight onto specially designed, usually plastic implements and slowly rolling over ‘knots’ and ‘tight’ areas in musculature. It has become pervasive in gyms and rehabilitation clinics recently, but has been a common practice for dancers for much longer. The fancy technical name for the foam rolling is self-myofascial release (SMR) and it’s basically a form of self-applied tissue massage. Implements are not limited to the common rollers but to all manner of hard tools, some specially intended for the purpose and others like basketballs and golf balls, decidedly not.
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