Following on from last week’s post “Choke out tendonitis”, which by the way went down a storm so thanks for liking and sharing.
I want to talk about the other element to forearm and hand care for grapplers. Self Myofascial release sounds fancy but in reality is a self imposed massage of sorts. Myo meaning muscle in Greek and fascia being the soft tissue component of connective tissues, it surrounds the muscles playing a passive role transmitting mechanical tension which is generated by muscular contractions.
What happens over the longer term is the occurrence of trigger points, areas of tissue that are uncomfortable to the touch. Tissue can become tough knotted and scarred (Inelastic scar tissue), this can happen on both muscular areas like forearms and fat pads and connective tissue like in our hands. Forearm in particular is a morass of connective and muscular tissue that can quickly become tight and painful. It can take month for even years when the build up can reach tipping point often ending in tendontis (tight and immoble fascia can pull on tendons excessively), restricted movement and painful (dont touch me bro) spots in the muscles.
Self myofascial release is a relatively simple once you grasp the method and few simple tools, I get a lot of athletes have “ah ha why did’nt I think of this sooner!” moments when I show it to them.
In the video below I show two of my favourite methods for releasing all that junk tissue in the forearm and hand. All you need is an empty barbell in a rack and a hockey/lacrosse/tennis/golf ball and drive it into the offending tight spots. Be sure to start light and work up to a progressively more resistance. As you work feel for the areas of most tension and work through those, it’ll be uncomfortable but it should never be painful. I use the hockey ball in particular on the hand to free-up the palmar facia. Judo players, climbers and Im willing to bet BJJ players are at an increased risk of Dupuytren’s disease (a thickening of the palmar facia, so releasing the palmar facia can help free up tissues in the hand.
Integrate this into your pre training warm-up routine. Another time to do it is between sets of other exercises, this is a great way to mobilise and make the most of your time in the gym rather than watching the bro’s curl in the smith machine or whatever it is you do between sets.
Self myofascial release with joint flossing technique are powerful tools so that you scrambler can keep grappling.
This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through.