Now, these aren’t separate bands, but one single sheet of strong, flexible tissue wrapping your muscles. It’s not the bones, but the fascia that keep things in place. Different sections are given names, such as the plantar fascia, iliotibial (IT) band, etc.
Now, just as muscles and tendons can get tight, inflexible and inflamed/irritated, so can the fascia. If you were to get a massage on the soles of your feet immediately before trying to touch your toes (in a hamstring stretch), you’d notice you can reach farther than you would without the massage.
Again, this is because the entire tissue connects one piece of your body to the next. And you must take care of it. Thus, in addition to strenght training and flexibility training, you must do myofascial release on a regular basis.
That’s a picture I stole from somewhere 😛 The little knots in it show those spots that hurt like a bitch. Those are muscle fibers and/or irritated fascia. And the way to release them is by applying pressure on them (either constant pressure at a single point or in a circular or back-and-forth motion).
And all you need is a tennis ball and a foam roller.
For example, you can use a tennis ball to release tension on the fascia and muscles of your hip flexors, as in this picture I stole from somewhere:
It hurts like a bitch, but it’s worth it. You move back and forth looking for the tender areas, and you make sure you stay in those areas applying constant pressure (within your pain threshold mind you.)
I personally use the tennis ball every other day on my rhomboids, trapezoids and the base of the neck. Those are the areas that give me the most trouble.
Other examples where a foam roller is used are as follows:
Shin release (this is specially good to avoid shin splints):
Side Quad and IT band (this one hurts like a mofo):
For most of these exercises, you can switch to a single limb to apply greater pressure. I wanted to write more about them for a long, but shit, I’m short on time. If I keep waiting for when I have the time, I’ll never write it down.
So, for additional details, I strongly suggest you guys read the following articles in t-nation. They put all the work together in those articles, with complete explanation of exercises for the back, legs, triceps and what not.
Feel Better for 10 Bucks : http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=475832
Soft Tissue Work for Tough Guys: http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle….6-150-training