The off-season can pass by in the blink of an eye. Even though the cold and dark months between November and March remind you nothing of the game of baseball they are the most crucial for ensuring you’ll be at your best come opening day. What you do with these months is what separates you from, and elevates you above, other players.
I’m no fortuneteller, but I’m usually pretty good at predicting the first few moves people make when they enter the gym. Somewhere between setting down their bag, consuming a healthy dose of caffeine, and loading up the barbell there’s some vaguely defined—albeit well-intentioned—period of time that involves rolling around on a foam roller or digging a lacrosse ball into various body parts.
These types of soft-tissue mobilization techniques have become a standard part of most people’s warm-up routines. But what do we really know about the science underlying these methods? And more importantly, are they right for everyone?
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a purpose and a plan, and not just a bunch of haphazard “I-think-this-is-supposed-to-be-good-for-me” exercises?
This article will explore some of what we know about the science of muscle and fascia, and how we can connect that information to our workouts for the best possible outcomes.
Sometimes getting to the gym isn’t feasible for a variety of reasons. Life gets busy, you end up having to stay at work late, pick up your kids, or travel. These busy times are stressful enough and become even more stressful when you view working out as black and white. If you view exercise as black and white you may think things like:
- If I’m not strength training at a high intensity then I’m not getting better
- If I don’t run as far or at as fast of a pace as last time the run was a waste of my time.
- If I’m not laying in a pile of my own sweat trying to catch my breath it wasn’t a good workout
This type of mindset can help push people towards making their workouts a priority in their life and drive them to be consistent enough to reach their goals, but it can also increase your stress levels, make you feel irritable, and make you no fun to live with or be around, especially when life throws you a curveball.
Even though your reasons for waking up early, working out, and eating well are different than mine—and different than the person training next to you—doesn’t mean we all don’t feel the same things when going through our fitness journeys.
Excitement when you hit a big lift.
Happiness when you reach your goal.
Fear when you start something new.
And frustration when your progress stalls.
When your progress stalls or you hit a “plateau,” it’s too common to jump ship and abandon your current program. Maybe you haven’t put weight on your deadlift in the past month or you haven’t lost weight during the past couple of weeks. With this article, I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath and ask yourself three important questions before you re-route your fitness journey. Hopefully it will ease your mind, give you a plan, and help you keep moving forward.
Most of us live in a world where our daily routines involve hours spent in front of a screen, in a car, or on a couch. As the hours you spend sitting accumulate, it’s likely the mobility of your hips, spine, and shoulders will begin to decrease. However, most of us may not see the negative effects of this decreased range of motion until we ask our body to perform an activity that challenges these ranges.
For example, let’s say you used to be a great baseball player in high school and golfed every summer with your buddies. Flash forward years from then and now all of the time you’ve spent at your desk has caused your shoulders to get tight and you no longer have the range of motion you once had. Your golf swing just doesn’t feel right, and throwing a round of batting practice leaves your shoulder feeling sore for days.
In this article we’ll cover four simple steps for how you can improve your thoracic mobility, which will allow your shoulders to feel looser, neck to feel better, and rotational activities like golf, baseball, and tennis feel easier.