Does this cycle sound familiar to you?
You exercise a bit, that familiar sensation comes back at some point, you manage it with stretching / foam rolling and book a massage.
Everything feels better for a while, you exercise a bit and yep, there it is again.
Do you ever wonder why it keeps coming back?
I used to, both when I was employing those techniques and when I was trying to manage my own issues.
It’s like you’ve taken on the properties of a classic car. Consistently needing maintenance in order to perform well once in a while when the sun comes out.
Let me ask you a question, which of those techniques that you’re currently using is going to fix the problem?
Do you think a certain number of massages would do it? If you foam rolled 5 times a day would that work?
Probably not right?
You instinctively know that these things are maintaining the status quo. Albeit with good days and bad ones.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti massage for example. Far from it. In the hands of a skilled practitioner you will feel better afterwards without a doubt.
What’s the plan though? How is it going to get you running without that pain making an appearance at mile 5? Or stop that shoulder thing happening every time you bench press?
It’s not and there’s a good reason for that, it’s addressing the symptom not the cause.
When a muscle tightens up it’s not an accident. Tension in the muscular system is regulated by your central nervous system (CNS) and your CNS is working with far more information than you can imagine.
Employing a technique to reduce that tension is more managing the problem than actually resolving it.
Resolution comes from looking a little deeper at exactly why that tension is there in the first place.
The reason is always safety.
Once muscles have had their limits breached, their ability to contribute to activity is reduced. Other muscles must increase in tension to compensate and keep your joints safe.
The long term solution therefore is to find those weak muscles and increase their capacity.
Thinking in this way gives us the ability to formulate a plan that will break the cycle you are currently in. If we are working on weakness every session you can see how you will get stronger.
Where does working on tightness get you? You already know that.