Fascial Release Techniques

How to Release Your Calf and Achilles Fascia – Breaks Up Adhesions, Helps Knee Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Leg Cramps & More

Who wants to release their calves?!

If you live in a human body, I hope you raised your hand. No matter who you are, what you do for work or sports or even if you sit on the couch all day playing video games – I guarantee your calf fascia needs some love!

If you haven’t heard of or already tried “the ONE Stretch”, then definitely check that out too by clicking here. It’s by far the most effective and fastest way to stretch your ENTIRE lower leg compartment all at once, not just your calf or gastrocnemius tissue.

I’m giving you this technique today because I’ve received a ton of emails requesting alternatives to The ONE Stretch, since some of you have had a hard time getting into the right position and/or figuring out how to do it properly. This is a fine alternative, just keep in mind it will take a little more effort over a sustained period of time to get the same results as someone else using The ONE Stretch.

Having said that, this technique is actually BETTER for releasing adhesions in the calf. The ONE Stretch is better at stretching all that tissue and create space, but it’s more difficult to break adhesions up this way.

So today’s technique would actually be better for those of you who have knee pain, recently rolled an ankle or have a history of rolled ankles (which is due to balled up fascia in the lower calf compartment within the Achilles area) or if you just know there are adhesions in there and you want them gone (like me! I always have some good ones going on).

Why release your calf fascia?

Releasing your calf fascia can help with ALL kinds of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Plantar fasciitis (click here for more info on PF)
  • Achilles tendonitis and other Achilles issues
  • Heel pain
  • Ankle issues
  • Knee pain (click here for more info on knee pain)
  • Soleus strains
  • Leg cramps
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Hamstring tightness
  • Tight calf/plantar fascia due to same side gluteus medius not firing
  • and more

How to release your calf fascia using a foam roller:

While I love foam rollers, for the record (in case you’re new around here) I am NOT a fan of using them to ROLL over soft tissue – EVER. The most common areas I see people still rolling are their IT Bands and calves. The reason I’m not a fan of rolling is it essentially tries to elongate tissue in only one (well, two opposing) directions (in a straight line). You’re essentially smashing your connective and muscle tissue towards the bone and then compressing it to that bone while trying to roll it out like pizza dough.

This is incredibly ineffective (it takes a LOT more force to release fascia than rolling will ever provide) and I don’t want you wasting your time!

I want you to get the absolute most out of your self care routine, and that means targeting your fascia directly for release through compression (pinning) and movement (stretching and releasing adhesions).

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s how to release your calf fascia using a foam roller:

Choose your weapon of choice (aka foam roller). You could use a soft one like me in the video, or a much harder one. It doesn’t really matter, just remember that the harder the roller the more intense it will be.

PLEASE DON’T USE A KNOBBY ROLLER FOR THIS!

The goal here is to use the weight of your leg, and if possible some additional compression by lifting up off the ground, to compress your calf fascia to the roller. Then, you’re going to use foot movement to release the fascia.

Your gastrocnemius muscles are responsible for the action of plantar flexion (pointing your toes), so even just pointing and flexing will allow the tissues to expand and contract while compressed, which creates an all around awesome stretch for the entire connective tissue system within your lower leg compartment, and – if done correctly, it can release the adhesions stuck there.

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • Use as much body weight as you can – by lifting up off the ground and/or placing your other foot on the leg you’re releasing
  • Start HIGH just below the knee and work your way down into the Achilles.
  • If this is your FIRST time trying this, go verrrrrry slowly! Your job is to hunt out those fascial adhesions, and fast movement hides them. Slow movement reveals them.
  • Try not to rock your hips or legs side to side. Remember, you’re NOT trying to roll on the roller you’re trying to PIN or compress a piece of fascia and use your foot movement to release it.
  • Speaking of, move your foot in pointing and flexing movements first. Then try circles. S L O W L Y.
  • Spend about 30 seconds on each spot. If you’re doing it correctly that’s ALL you need! If you’re still figuring this out, going a little longer is ok.
  • You might find 4-6 spots moving from high to low.
  • Definitely get into your low calf and Achilles region! You’re likely to find a nice ball of knotted up fascia there and this technique is a great way to break it up.
  • If you get SORE the next day, back off how long you’re on the roller.
  • After you’re done with one leg, get up and WALK AROUND! Notice the difference. Then go after the second leg.
  • Do this as often as you think you need to. This will be different for everyone.

 

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Ultimate Chest and Deltoid Release for Maximum Upper Body Freedom – Get Your Shoulders Back & Down!

I can hardly contain my excitement about this one!!!

Some of the techniques I’ve come up with here at Mobility Mastery can mimic what I do with my private clients to very satisfying degrees, but I’ve spent years wondering how on earth I can give you all out there the chance to experience the kind of lasting upper body relief that a proper chest release can bring – like the kind I’m able to offer my in-person clients. I finally cracked the code on this a few weeks ago!

That’s the good news.

The “bad” news is you’re going to need a very specific medicine ball to get the most out of this one. For a link to a ball that looks similar to the one I have (I can’t guarantee you that it is as I haven’t used this one) that you can purchase on Amazon – click here. (I have no affiliation with this company).

PLEASE NOTE: a baseball, lacrosse ball, larger medicine ball or just about anything NOT what I demo in the video or link to above will NOT give you the best result, may cause bruising and soreness and I do not really recommend using any of these other balls for these reasons. The next best thing would be a SOFTBALL – it’s not going to mold to your body as well, but I’ve tried it and it works ok!

Why release your chest?

I would argue that everyone (at least in the western world) needs this one! We’re all slumped over desks and phones these days, and if you’re in another category of work like a farmer or factory worker then you’re definitely going to have tight fascia here too.

As you can see from the photo there are a lot of converging muscles, nerves and fascia here. The fascia of pec major can get stuck to the fascia of pec minor along with the front deltoid, leading to a “clogged” or stuck intersection, which can definitely lead to pain, less range of motion and shoulder joint issues.

The goal with this technique is to release that front fascia enough that the shoulders are freed to drop back and down where they’re supposed to be, which will relieve the neck and head as well as the arms and even your hips!

Use this technique to relieve or eliminate:

  • Shoulder pain – front, back or rotator cuff issues
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Forward head posture
  • Pelvic tilts due to shoulder imbalances
  • Pec minor adhesions or restriction
  • Shallow breathing due to chest tightness
  • Jaw and TMJ pain

In combination with other Mobility Mastery techniques can relieve or eliminate:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Elbow pain
  • Grip issues
  • Mid back pain
  • and more

How to perform this technique:

  • For the BEST results, please use a Mobility Mastery approved ball and a foam roller (preferably a soft foam roller, but if you want to simultaneously release your quad fascia then by all means go with a hard one πŸ˜› )
  • Your thighs will be resting on the foam roller, and you can use your hip angle to put more or less weight into the ball to compress your chest fascia in whatever way works best for you. Keep in mind that the more weight/compression you can use the better your result will be, however – it will be more intense during the technique!
  • MOVE S L O W L Y !!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Slow movement helps you target the right spots, release fascia effectively and rushing through anything has a tendency to let your brain bypass the experience and not even register that something happened! In other words – if you move fast, you won’t get much benefit.
  • Go ahead and experiment with ball placement, arm movement, rotation, bending and reaching – there’s not “wrong” way to do this if it works for you! And every one of us has different anatomy, so what works for me might not work for you.
  • That said, most of you will get a good result with the bending reaching, especially arm moving “above” your head (on the ground), and if you have restriction in the front deltoid, definitely try the rotations!
  • Spend at least 3-4 minutes per side when you first learn this technique. After you master it you can spend less time. This one can often feel kind of good – and I’m not sure we can do “too much,” because it would simply feel like nothing if the fascia were healthy. So as long as it feels beneficial and you’re keen to get after it – go for it!
  • Remember to BREATHE!
  • Get up when you’re done with one side and move around – you’ll likely notice a significant difference left to right!

 

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For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SIGN UP for exclusive email updates and get $15 off your first session.

How to Release Overactive/Restricted Upper Traps – Relieves Neck + Shoulder Pain, Headaches and More

Those pesky upper traps!

They want to work for us ALL the time. But it’s not their fault. We’ve trained them to be overactive by the ways we sit, stand, work out and move through activities like running and cycling, and how we carry our purses or backpacks.

For a long term “fix” here, we have to get those upper traps to stop working for other muscles like our rhomboids, low traps, low lats and our core. Yes, our traps will actually work for our core to stabilize us through certain movements and activities if our deep core stabilizers aren’t engaged. Click here to read/watch my post on the 3 “R’s” of better posture, which is a great place to start reversing this pattern, and watch out for new episodes addressing this one. It’s so chronic I’ll be covering it from various angles indefinitely!

Today, I’ll show you how to stretch and release those fascial adhesions (aka “knots”) in your upper traps or shoulders.

These knots can cause all kinds of pain and discomfort, from shoulder and neck pain to arm issues, headaches and mid back pain to name a few.

You’ll need access to a barbell and rack for this one. Every gym has one.

Please watch the video for the best results!

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • You can use a bare barbell, or if you want something a little less metalic/cold, try wrapping a towel around it, or use one of the various rack covers that most gyms provide.
  • You’re looking to do TWO things with this technique: 1) STRETCH all the tight fascia in this region which is achieved by pinning a piece of tissue and using your arm AND head to stretch in opposing directions, which creates a good stretch through the whole system (fascia is connective tissue, and as the name implies, it is all connected!) And 2) Find and break up or release the adhesion(s) in your upper traps. This one is more tricky.
  • Once you try the stretch part and feel like you’ve done a decent job at this, move on to finding and releasing the adhesion(s).
  • It may be helpful to start by palpating (feeling your hands) to find out where exactly that sucker is.
  • Then, your job is to pin the knot to the barbell and use head and arm movement to “shear” across the knot and break it up. Think about using your HEAD movement the most here, but make sure you move S L O W L Y !!! Slow movement will reveal that you’re getting it, or tell you you’re not.
  • If you can’t get that knot to “clunk” under the barbell, then try placing the barbell in a different location – maybe farther back towards your posterior and away from your collarbone. That usually does it for me, but everyone is different here.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! Try different positions, head movements, reaching your arm or leaving it loose. Each will produce a different sensation and technique in the upper trap. Basically – find what works for YOU and your body.

 

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

Subscribe on YouTube for new episodes every Monday.

For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SIGN UP for exclusive email updates and get $15 off your first session.

 

Posterior Neck Release + Spine Traction – For Reverse Whiplash, Post Fall Recovery & Sore Necks

If you’ve ever fallen face first, woke up with a sore neck or had any kind of accident that leads to posterior neck and upper back muscle soreness – you’re going to LOVE this technique!

Are you finding this immediately after a recent fall?

During the day or two immediately following a fall, what we do (and DON’T) is critical. If you fell as recently as today or yesterday, BEFORE attempting the technique in this post please figure out if you have traditional or reverse whiplash, and of course – if you have broken bones, a possible spine misalignment or neck pain (in the bones/joints), please see your preferred health care professional first.

Traditional whiplash:

Traditional whiplash occurs during car accidents and other falls where the FRONT of our body locks into contraction to protect the cervical spine from snapping and killing us. Typically with this kind of whiplash your chest and biceps and maybe the front of your neck are what contract really tightly to protect you. This can happen with or without the presence of obvious soreness in these muscles.

Are you experiencing reverse whiplash?

This is what happened to me recently, and what led me to invent today’s technique.

(Please note the term “reverse whiplash” is mine, and is simply meant to describe what’s occurring muscularly compared to traditional whiplash and is not meant to diagnose or treat anyone. As far as I know it’s not an “official” name for anything).

How does reverse whiplash happen?

I was hiking up a mountain on a snowy trail wearing microspikes when one one set of spikes got caught on the other. My feet were essentially tied together, which meant I couldn’t bend a knee or put a foot down or break my fall in any other way than falling face first into the snow. My hands broke my fall, my face inches from the cold white ground. I didn’t know it at the time, but my entire posterior chain from the base of my skull all the way to my tailbone contracted quickly and powerfully to stop me from hitting my skull, pelvis or other important joints on the hard ground. Essentially, they were attempting to “pull” me back, away from the ground, which resulted in my doing a near perfect fall to low plank without anything but my hands hitting the ground.

At the time I thought I’d gotten away with it all…

Until I woke up the next morning with the most sore neck I’ve ever had. I’ve been in car 2 pretty bad accidents and walked away with less pain than this fall! I could barely turn my head or look down or move my neck, shoulders, arms or spine without intense muscle soreness. Thankfully no broken bones or joints out of place! No pain other than the most sore muscles I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve called this reverse whiplash because it wasn’t my anterior chain that took the brunt of this fall, it was my posterior chain.

What we’re targeting:

We’re going after almost everything you see below: some lateral/peripheral SCM fascia and muscle, all the splenius muscles of the cervical spine, subocciptals, multifidi, as well as portions of levator scapulae and upper trapezius muscles and fascia.

Image from Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ap1/chapter/axial-muscles-of-the-head-neck-and-back/

We’re also targeting the entire spine from occiput to SI joint with traction; not to adjust the spine, but to gently engage it; to give it some moments of space where the brain and body can connect and get on the same page for healing. Plus, it just feels good! If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

Before trying this technique make sure you…

  • Know WHY you’re doing it, and…
  • Make sure it feels like a safe thing to do.

WHY you should (or maybe shouldn’t) do this technique:

Anyone with a sore/stiff/achy neck can try this, even if you haven’t taken a fall recently! If you’re not in pain but sit at a desk all day or just want to give your neck some love…but all means give this a whirl πŸ™‚

But if you have taken a fall recently it’s critical to make sure you’re targeting your body correctly.

For example, doing this technique when your body is much more in need of release on the anterior or FRONT of your body will likely set you back rather than help you find relief.

If you’re at all unsure if you should be doing this, maybe consult your chosen therapist, chiropractor or doctor first. Or consider a Skype session with me, where I can coach you through the best techniques for your body and its current challenges.

In the video I show you how to traction your spine, including your cervical spine – and if you have anything going on in your spine that might not like this (such as bulging discs, pinched nerves, vertebrae out etc) then proceed with caution or ask your doctor or chiropractor if this is a good idea for you.

You could certainly do the soft tissue part without the traction!

Do this technique if:

  • You are NOT currently experiencing traditional whiplash symptoms/pain
  • You ARE experiencing something like I’ve described above as reverse whiplash (WITHOUT the presence of structural issues)
  • Your posterior neck muscles are sore, achy, tight and you have no spine issues that would make this dangerous
  • You know traction works well for your spine, and/or
  • You’ve been cleared by a doctor to try this for whatever pain you are currently experiencing

Please watch the video for full instructions! If you need some visual reminders of what to do…

Basic sequence to love up your posterior neck:

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One Weird (and Easy) Technique That Can Banish Headaches FAST!

Do you get headaches frequently?

Are you on the computer a lot?

Even if you don’t have a desk job, chances are you’re on your phone a significant portion of every day.

Well, maybe everyone else is…not YOU right? πŸ˜›

Are you experiencing eye strain?

According to a 2015 report from The Vision Council, about 61 percent of Americans have experienced eye strain after prolonged use of electronic devices β€” that’s nearly 2 out of every 3 people!

And…even if you’re not on your phone a lot, there are some other surprising ways you can strain your eyes that have nothing to do with a digital screen. In fact, that’s how I stumbled across this one weird technique that can instantly get rid of a headache (if the cause is eye strain, or tight fascia in and around your eyeball).

In the video you’ll hear my story of a 4 hour harrowing winter mountain drive that had me fixated on the road, how this led to a raging headache and then…

I’m going to show you how to release your eyeball fascia in today’s episode! So get ready for some seriously awkward moments. Feel free to laugh at me, and then I hope you laugh at yourself as you try this!

Even if you don’t get headaches, your eyes are probably getting strained on a regular basis. I mean…no matter your age, career, hobbies or where you live in the world, chances are you’re peering intently at that tiny cell phone screen at least 2 hours a day. Your eyeball and surrounding fascia may be overworked and restricted, even without the presence of headaches.

You may just experience a feeling of spaciousness in your noggin and eyes that you haven’t had in a while.

What we’re targeting:

We’re targeting the fascia of the tiny muscles in the eyelids, eyebrows, eyeball and specifically the fascia behind your eyeball (the fascia bulbi, pictured to the left).

This technique might seem really weird, but if you think about it…we have a LOT of tiny muscles all around the eyeball! And every muscle in the body contains layers of fascia. Not to mention, every nerve ending in the body is coated in a piece of fascia and the optic nerve is no different!

The lateral and medial rectus muscles lay on the eyeball laterally and medially, and the suspensory ligament (fascia) holds the eye’s lens in place!

ALL this fascia, like any fascia in the body, can get tight and restricted. What happens to restricted fascia? It can most certainly cause pain. It also restricts blood flow! Our eyes need blood as much as any other part of the body, and if the fascia in and around our eyes is really tight…it won’t flow in as freely.

How to release your eyeball fascia:

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Release Tibialis Anterior and Peroneals Fascia to Relieve Pain on TOPS of Feet, Shin Splints, Foot Cramps and More

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If you have tendonitis or pain on the TOPS of your feet, cramping on the BOTTOMS of your feet, shin splints or a strained/pulled soleus muscle then you are going to LOVE this. (And those are just a FEW of the things this technique can help with).

TOOLS NEEDED: Lacrosse ball and 25+lb weight plate (most gyms have both of these).

Please take the necessary steps to do this with the same equipment I’m using in the video, because I want you to get the BEST result, and you will NOT get the same result using a tennis ball, golf ball, soft ball or any ball without a weight plate.

Let’s look at some anatomy shall we? (Hello my fellow body/anatomy nerds!)

The fascia here affects SO MANY things:

Remember, it’s the FASCIA we’re after in terms of releasing tissue, not any particular muscle(s).

The muscles are important though because they indicate which direction(s) the tissues move in terms of shortening and lengthening and acting on various joints – and it’s where and how the tissues are being asked to move combined with the fascial restrictions within the muscle groups that is what creates the pain patterns I’m about to talk about.

Tibialis anterior:

Otherwise known as the “shin muscle,” tibialis anterior (or TA for short) attaches laterally at the top of the tibia, near the knee, and (via its distal tendon) attaches to the medial cuneiform (a bone on the inside of the foot) and first two metatarsals (which lead to the big toe bones).

Got BIG TOE issues? This is definitely something to check!

TA dorsiflexes the ankle and inverts the foot.

Peroneals:

All three peroneal muscles attach to the fibula and metatarsals of the foot.

Here is where things get interesting: all three of these muscles evert the foot, but two peroneal muscles – fibularis or peroneus longus and fibularis or peroneus brevis – plantarflex the foot while fibularis or peroneus tertius dorsiflexes it!

So between tibialis anterior and the peroneals all acting on the foot in opposing ways, it’s no surprise that if the fascia gets clogged, tight, dehydrated or stuck…ANY of these actions of the foot could become confused leading to dysfunction (or pain) anywhere downstream of the knee – the ankle and retinaculum, the tops of the feet and toes, the plantar fascia, pain with eversion or inversion…and possibly pain upstream as well, due to gait changes or how the ankle affects the knee which affects the hip, etc.

Let’s explore the most common issues this release technique will help relieve:

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Mobility Work and Foam Rolling for Fascial Release FAQ – How Long, How Often, Should it Hurt or Bruise?

So you bought yourself a shiny new foam roller or lacrosse ball (or other mobility tools), or maybe you’ve had these for a while…but you’re not sure you’re doing things correctly, or enough, or maybe you’re wondering if you’re OVER doing it?

The video has it all, but here’s a recap of my 5 tips for the best self fascial release sessions:

1. How OFTEN should you be foam rolling?

This is fairly personal, or individual – meaning some people will need more while other people need less. I’m about to give you some guidelines, but no matter what I tell you I encourage you to LISTEN to your body, because it will tell you how much is enough (and the other 4 tips today will help you know what it’s telling you).

Generally speaking, for fascia health maintenance (meaning, there’s nothing ‘wrong,’ you’re not working on an injury or pain pattern) I suggest 2-3 times per week. If you just loooove your foam roller and want to do more, by all means do more.

If you ARE working on recovering from an injury or using fascial release to get yourself out of pain, then you could go after your target areas ONCE PER DAY for a week or two. Max. You do NOT need to do twice a day – if you do, chances are you’ll get pretty sore.

You certainly do not need to do your entire body every day.

2. Should you feel sore or get bruised doing this work?

The short answer is NO.

If you were in my office getting worked on by me I’d tell you that about 1 in 30 people get sore (even though what I do is FAR more intense than a foam roller or lacrosse ball). Given I’m not in your living room or gym with you and can’t control what you’re doing or HOW you’re doing it, chances are greater with self work that you might get a little sore from this.

If you’re doing things CORRECTLY, you should NEVER get sore OR bruised.

If you ARE getting sore, here are some things to check:

  1. Are you using a super hard or knobby roller? That can often cause soreness or bruising. I recommend starting with a SOFT foam roller, and maybe you’ll stick with that forever. You can work up to a harder roller but I never ever recommend the knobby ones for fascial release work.
  2. If you’re using a lacrosse ball, are you digging it into your tissue trying to give yourself a deep tissue massage? If so, you can definitely get sore or bruised. To do this correctly you want to PIN an area of your body TO the lacrosse ball (often needing to use your other hand to hold it steady) while another part of you moves. You’re trying to pin and stretch/release the fascia, NOT dig into it.
  3. Are you spending too much time on one spot? This can often make you sore – see tip #5 for more on this.

Regarding BRUISING:

I do not endorse or advocate that bruising is a good thing UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. It’s not the end of the world if it does happen, but in my private practice I avoid it at all costs (and only 4-5 people have ever bruised from my work since 2008 and it was only in small areas like the tops of the feet). I want you to avoid looking like you’ve been beaten up too! This is my personal and professional opinion and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me, and that’s ok.

Here’s why I feel so strongly about this:

A BRUISE – meaning, a red, black and blue or yellow/green spot – is a soft tissue injury called a contusion. What causes the discoloration are small capillaries and blood vessels that have BURST and spilled their blood into the surrounding tissues. Those capillaries and blood vessels are DAMAGED. Thankfully, our body has a brilliant way of dealing with this by sending in hormones to contain the bleeding and heal the damaged tissue, so a bruise isn’t something to freak out about. However, the reason I want you to avoid bruises is because even IF you are creating some good through whatever method caused the bruising – you’ve also caused some (or a LOT) of damage. Inflammation is likely to occur, and if it’s a really bad bruise it might hurt so much you won’t want to be as active (which sucks), or it might take as much as a week or two to heal fully.

I’ve been using my body weight (sometimes all 145lbs of me) stepping on people since 2008, and soreness and bruising are NOT common. It is NOT a necessary part of healing fascia.

3. Should it hurt?

Yes. And no!

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What to do For a Pulled or Strained Hip Flexor or Groin Muscle

If you’re suffering with a strained or pulled hip flexor or groin muscle, this post is for YOU – find out why they happen and more importantly what to do about it.

Unlike other common strains, this area doesn’t follow my typical theory on strains being a symptom of reciprocal inhibition issues between two opposing muscle groups. This injury happens (in my opinion) due to the upper and lower thigh muscles working at odds with each other. Let me explain.

We have a LOT of muscles that flex the hip:

The psoas and iliacus (or iliopsoas), rectus femoris (a quadriceps muscle), sartorius, tensor fascia latae, pectiuneus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus and gracilis.

MOST of these muscles perform other actions as well, such as adduction, abduction (TFL) and knee extension.

A strained or pulled hip flexor most often occurs in dancers, martial artists, runners (especially sprinters or mountain runners who do a lot of uphill work) and soccer, football and hockey players.

What all of these sports have in common:

A LOT of quad dominance! It’s also likely during these sports that you’re asking those muscles of the thigh to both flex the hip AND extend the knee, sometimes at the same time or one after the other with a lot of power (think of kicking a soccer ball, or a jump kick in martial arts).

Of course you can absolutely experience a pulled or strained hip flexor without being one of these athletes, and the cause/solution will likely still be the same.

NO injury, unless traumatic or due to a fall or sudden impact, occurs in isolation or is due to ONE thing you do. Even if the pain comes on suddenly, in all likelihood there’s been a slow build-up of something that has made an injury likely to occur.

It is my opinion that in this case, that something is overworked and fascially restricted lower quad tissue – where the rectus femoris fascia gets stuck to the fascia of vastus intermedius and vastus medialis (two other quad muscles), and starts to pull the adductors, sartorius and gracilis towards the quads – making these muscles less able to do their job without straining to do so.

The strain or pulled muscle occurs when we ask the hip flexors and knee extensors to work simultaneously or in rapid succession. And here is where reciprocal inhibition does come into play for a moment – in order to “cock” or wind up the hip flexor and knee extensor muscles, they need to lengthen or stretch (like stretching a bow back before letting the arrow loose).

Since there is so much fascia and muscle restriction within the quads, including the quadriceps tendon which attaches to the knee joint, the brain detects the possibility of a tear happening, and in the few split seconds it takes to wind those muscles up (aka stretch them) your body starts to enact a stretch reflex by pulling the hip flexor muscles back, and since you’re already getting ready to contract them powerfully – BAM! When you do = major muscle contraction, major strain, major pain.

This scenario is different than a typical strain because it occurs within the muscle group that IS the problem, rather than its opposite.

What’s the solution?

Release that lower quad restriction!

EVERY single person I’ve worked on since 2008 that has had this issue (which includes a LOT of Jiu Jitsu people, soccer and dance athletes) has had a huge knot of restricted fascia here.

The picture on right shows the area you’re looking to target – rectus femoris and where that quad muscle meets the vastus medialis (and intermedius, which is under rectus femoris).

The video above shows you what to look for, what to do and how to do it.

Next steps:

  1. If going after the lower quad doesn’t get you the desired result, especially if you have a pulled GROIN muscle (vs high/top of the quad area), then your next best bet is to go after your low adductor fascia. You’ll also be looking for a knot there. Click here to go to my post and video for this technique.
  2. If that doesn’t get it to 100%, try releasing your TFL. Click here for that post and video.

How to get the BEST and fastest results:

  • Chances are high that if you’re experiencing this injury your low to mid quad fascia has a giant knot in it. Spend as much time as necessary hunting around to either rule this in or out. If you’ve found a giant knot, then…
  • Spend 20-40 seconds on EACH SPOT (start on the LOWEST SPOT and move up but do NOT go past your mid thigh), moving your lower leg back and forth to “shear” the fascia and release it.
  • There will likely be 2-3 spots within this low to mid quad area. More than likely it’s the same “knot” or adhesion, you’re just attacking it from every possible angle.
  • If this is an acute injury (meaning it JUST happened within a few days of you finding your way here), I would do this once a day for a week.
  • If you click to the other blog posts, PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST but especially the “How to get the most out of this technique” section at the bottom.
  • DO NOT USE A KNOBBY FOAM ROLLER FOR THIS! You will likely bruise your tissue and it will suck so much you may never want to use a foam roller again! I generally advocate using a soft or standard black foam roller. If you need help figuring out which foam roller is right for you, click here.

And THAT is it folks! Grab your foam roller and give this a try. Please comment with your experience or questions!

 

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How to Release Your Pec Minor Fascia – For Shoulder Pain & Shoulder Mobility Issues

Pec minor – a small but very important muscle!

If you have shoulder issues of any kind – from shoulder pain, rotator cuff or shoulder mobility issues (including partially frozen shoulders or seriously forward rotated shoulders) then this technique should be at the top of your list for self-help techniques.

If you have breathing or rib issues this could be related as well.

Pec minor is actually somewhat difficult to get into. Pec major and the clavipectoral fascia sit on top of it, and when your arm is resting or hanging at your side you can’t get into it at all. In order to get at this triple headed small muscle and its fascia you’ll need to raise your arm and target a very specific spot for release. (I show you exactly how in the video).

To be clear, what we’re actually going after here is the fascial adhesion that can occur between pec minor and pec major (specifically the , the clavipectoral fascia and possibly coracobrachilais as well.

For such a small muscle, pec minor plays a critical role in shoulder joint, scapular/rotator cuff and rib health.

From the picture to the left you can see how (because of its attachment at the coracoid process of the scapula), if shortened or adhesed, pec minor can pull both the shoulder joint and the scapula into forward rotation, and/or elevate the ribs. Someone who, later in life, has a serious hunch or “wings” showing in the upper back – you can bet they have a very short, tight, adhesed pec minor (in addition to probably a lot of other fascial tightness in the front as well).

If you’re someone who has ribs “go out” a lot, I would instantly suspect ridiculously tight pec minor tissue. This would not be the thing itself that makes a rib go out, it just sets you up and makes it much more likely. This has been true of my clients who play lacrosse, train jiu jitsu or those who have experienced a traumatic fall or impact such as a car accident, falling onto a shoulder or their head while snowboarding etc.

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • You’ll need a lacrosse ball for this one. I do NOT recommend a tennis ball, softball, golf ball or really any other ball. This particular area is SO TRICKY to get into in a way that you can hold the position, so you’ll need the grip or stickiness of the lacrosse ball to make it work.
  • Spend however long you need to get the right spot! This technique will be almost useless (for its intended purpose anyway) if you don’t successfully find pec minor. It can be incredibly tricky to nail. Watch the video as many times as you need to get it right.
  • Look for (or FEEL for) a slight “THUMP” that would indicate an adhesion between pec minor and pec major.
  • MOVE SLOOOOOOOWLY. Slowly. Very very slowly.
  • Did I say move SLOWLY? Haha. If you move too fast on this one you’ll pop off of pec minor in half a second and not even know it.
  • There are probably only 2-3 spots MAX you can find and release here. Most people probably only have two spots worth doing.
  • Spend 20-30 seconds on each spot WHEN YOU GET IT RIGHT. If it takes 10 seconds at a time to find and re-find a good spot, that’s ok.
  • Move your arm after!
  • Notice what changed, if anything.
  • Obviously, if you have a serious impingement, mobility issue or pain present, this technique alone probably isn’t going to eliminate it. Use the search function on this website to find other techniques for your particular issue, or leave a comment with your questions.

 

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How to Release Your Plantar Fascia – Helps Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Pain, Ankle Mobility & the Whole Body!

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This is a simple technique that will help your WHOLE body.

I’m pretty sure ALL of us could use this one!

If you have plantar fasciitis, heel pain, ankle mobility issues, big toe articulation problems or Achilles tendonitis then this is definitely a technique you’ll want to add to your mobility toolbox. Just make sure you’re taking care of the root issue first! For plantar fasciitis, heel pain and Achilles tendonitis – click here for my main technique that addresses these issues at the source.

As usual with Mobility Mastery techniques, this is NOT intended to be a massage for your feet! (Though your reward for doing the technique is massage-like πŸ™‚ )

We are attempting to PIN and RELEASE the restricted fascia and any fascial adhesions on the bottom of the foot.

There are a BUNCH of tiny muscles down there.

The fascia that wraps each of those muscles along with the plantar fascia itself can get stuck to each other. All of that fascia can get dehydrated, brittle, inelastic and because of these things pain and all the “itis’s” can happen – plantar fasciitis, heel pain, tendonitis on the tops of the feet, big toe articulation problems, ankle mobility restriction, Achilles tendonitis…etc.

This can happen due to a variety of factors: if you’re a woman who wears high heels, it’s almost inevitable you will have one or more of the above issues eventually; if you work on your feet all day, especially if you’re not moving much but standing in place; if your body type, lifestyle, sports, habits etc have created fascial restrictions UPSTREAM, you may have PAIN here and you’ll need to find out if the plantar fascia is actually tight and restricted, or simply getting irritated and pulled on – or BOTH.

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • Make sure if you have pain on the bottoms of your feet or any of the issues listed above that you FIRST look for the root cause and go after THAT first – then come to this technique as a way to “comfort” what is hurting.
  • PLEASE USE A LACROSSE BALL! For the best possible result, a lacrosse ball is the single best tool. All other balls will NOT give you the same result.
  • If you don’t have a lacrosse ball and you’re desperate to try this immediately – use what you have and then get your booty to a sporting goods store ASAP! They only cost $6 (give or take). And then do it right πŸ˜‰
  • Make sure the entire weight of your leg is resting on that ball before doing the technique.
  • Make sure your heel doesn’t drop down too much, nor your toes. Try to keep the weight of your leg directly over that spot you’re targeting.
  • Start near the ball of your foot and work your way towards the heel.
  • If you feel or hear “crunching” noises while opening your toes, you’re doing it RIGHT! That’s the feel and sound of your plantar fascia releasing.
  • If this SUCKS – you’re probably doing it right, and you can be sure your plantar fascia is restricted and needs help to relax.
  • If this doesn’t suck at all and you have pain in your feet – perhaps you didn’t find the right spot, OR – your plantar fascia may not be restricted at all, but is in pain because of something else that is. It could be your calf, your hamstring, glute or even upper body fascia. You’ll need to look for the root cause.
  • Try 3-4 spots with the technique, and then…
  • DON’T FORGET YOUR REWARD! After releasing all that fascia, roll your foot around on the ball for as long as you want. This usually feels AMAZING afterward. If you prefer a different kind of ball, a frozen waterbottle or rolling pin for this part – go for it. This is simply meant to be a FEEL GOOD endorphin releasing reward for your WHOLE body!
  • Speaking of your whole body – if you DON’T have pain in your feet, but you have pain ANYWHERE ELSE in your body and you are ON your feet all day – give this a try!
  • In fact, if you’re on your feet all day I HIGHLY recommend buying yourself a lacrosse ball to keep at work and doing this one daily, or several times a day. Your entire body will thank you!

 

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For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SUBSCRIBE below and get $15 off your first session.

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