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In 2002 when I was working at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I had the privilege of treating Marlon Shirley probably the greatest Para-Olympian. (look up his story, it’s quite remarkable). We had an interesting conversation and asked his opinion why many of my high school athletes ran slower in college, He felt that most college programs (at that time), spent too much time in the weight room causing many of the athletes to gain weight. His opinion was that the extra weight gain while training low functioning movements for their specific event actually made the athlete slower. Thankfully, in 2023, we have a better understanding of speed, power, endurance, mobility, stability, proprioception and neurological input and output(mechanics).

Recently, one of my track athletes came to me with various injuries. We began to discuss his summer training, preparing for the upcoming x-country fall season. His plan was to prepare with over-distance to increase his “base”. I asked him what was his strengths and weaknesses. His strengths was running on the flats and his weaknesses were running uphill and downhill. Upon my physical examination he had poor hip mobility, glute strength, a weak posterior lumbar chain and poor core stabilization. I initially recommended that he takes a few weeks off to recover both physically and mentally from 10 months of training and competing. We further discussed on he could use his time and energy to benefit his weaknesses. I recommended that he trains his core stability, facilitation of his glutes and lumbar posterior chain, proprioception and balance. Also, he should practice his uphill and downhill running by progressively increasing the angle of the hills.

We’ve had similar discussions with throwers that are weak with core mobility, joint mobility and an inability to efficiently transfer forces from the core to the extremities. Instead of lifting weights in one plane, they need to increase their strength, speed and control in multiple planes including rotation, flexion, extension, lateral flexion and circumduction using medicine balls, bands and kettlebells.. Football lineman need to lift heavy to have the ability be take on heavy impact and the power to give a hit on the field. The speed positions need to concentrate on speed, fast feet, reaction times. better running of routes and improve hand eye coordination.

My whole point of this newsletter is to use our summer training to strengthen our weaknesses, Do we really accomplish these goals by only running over-distance or practicing 7 on 7. During the summer, we have an opportunity to train smarter, harder and recover, Let’s use this time wisely and efficiently.

For the last seven years I have been treating and discussing the importance of the fascia system. Fascia is the tough flexible tissue that surrounds and connects all of our muscles, bones and organs. I have been lecturing on this topic for many years having some of you attending my workshop in 2019 at St. John’s University and at Camp Speed in Jamaica in 2023.

Fascia is made from collagen and can be categorized into dense fascia that supports internal structures in place and loose fascia that allow for movement. The fascia system is neurologically rich so that all parts can communicate with all parts of the body. It is my opinion that acupuncture is effective by placing needles within the fascia allowing it to treat many body parts.

What makes the fascia system function poorly is repetitive stress including sitting at an electronic device for many hours/day contributing to the fascia to “stick” causing tightness and trigger points.
The best way to treat the fascia system is with active movement, resistance training, foam rolling, ball rolling, massage, cupping, massage gun, ART, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage and Kinesio-taping. Nutritionally, staying hydrated and ingesting collagen will support the fascia system.

Treating the fascia system can relieve chronic pain, allow for better movement and allow for improved performance.

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