June 22, 2017
Andy in Health

7 Easy Fascia Exercises to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

If you're looking for a way to achieve your fitness goals, maybe it's time to stop focusing on your muscles and start focusing on your fascia. We all have it and there are some easy exercises you can do to help take your workouts to new levels.

When is the last time you exercised your fascia? Not sure what we are talking about? Don’t worry. We weren’t really sure either when we first heard about it either. Fascia exercises are a trendy type of fitness method that many people swear by. Find out what fascia is and some easy fascia exercises that can help you get in on this fitness craze.


What is fascia

Fascia is an elastic plastic-like fiber that surrounds your muscles and other soft tissues. Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines fascia as “the fibrous connective membrane of the body that may be separated from other specifically organized structures, such as the tendons, the aponeuroses, and the ligaments, and that covers, supports, and separates muscles.”

Fascia has not been well studied in the past so there is still research that needs to be done on what it does for us to fully understand it.

Man doing fascia exercises

Properties of fascia

Based on the science that is available, there are certain properties that are known.

  • It stretches

Fascia surrounds our muscles and helps pull things back into place after we stretch.

  • It’s strong

Dense fascia tissue can have 2 to 8 times the tensile strength of muscles. That means it can take 2 to 8 times the force to full stretch the fibers.

  • It has no nerves

Unlike muscles and other fibers of the body, fascia has no nerves, which means that you can’t feel it when you are stretching it.

  • It is malleable

Over time, our experiences change the form of fascia, making them more tense, thick, and fibrous. Exercise can tear some of the fibers making them more stretchable.


The benefits of fascia exercises

Physical therapists, trainers, and other fitness experts agree that there are many benefits to fascia exercises.

  • Reduced pain
  • Greater flexibility
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improve posture
  • Better circulation
  • Fewer injuries
  • Lower stress


Easy fascia exercises

Many easy fascia exercises use a device called a foam roller. The foam roller allows you to provide deep compression to your muscles using your own body weight. Fitness experts say that there is usually some discomfort or pain when doing these exercises, similar to that of a deep tissue massage. 

To perform these exercises there are some important things to keep in mind.

  1. Roll slowly. You shouldn't roll more than 1 inch per second.
  2. When you reach an area that is tight or painful, stop rolling for a few seconds and try to relax. The pain should go away within 30 seconds.
  3. If any area is too painful, move the roller to a less painful spot nearby and gradually make your way back to the original spot.
  4. Never roll a joint or bone.
  5. Don’t roll your lower back. Use ball rollers to target more specific muscles.
  6. Get professional help for more sensitive or advanced areas like your neck and around your spine and joints.
  7. You will probably be sore the next day. Drink water, get enough sleep, and give your body a rest.
  8. Do not work the same area two days in a row. Wait 24 to 48 hours before you focus on the same area again. 

 

Calves

easy fascia exercises calves

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Increases ankle mobility and calf elasticity

How: Sit on the floor, place the foam roller under your calves, and place your hands behind you on the floor. Push up with your arms and roll the foam roller back and forth in between your knee and your ankle.

 

 

Hamstrings

easy fascia exercises hamstrings

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Helps ease muscle tension

How: Sit on the foam roller, placing your weight on one leg. Cross the other leg over the first one, resting your ankle on top of the other. Roll along the length of your leg from the glutes to the knee. After you are done switch legs. 

 

Quads

easy fascia exercises quads

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Increase flexibility around the knee

How: Lie face-down on the floor and place the foam roller under your hips. Lean on one leg and place the other leg behind the one on the foam roller, crossing them at the ankles. Push up with your arms and roll from the hip to the knee. 

 

Back

easy fascia exercises back

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Relieve tension and back pain.

How: Rest your lower back on the foam roller and place your arms behind you. Push up with your arms for balance, tighten your abs, and roll from the lower back up to your shoulder blades.

 

Outer Thighs

easy fascia exercises outer thighs

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Helps the IT band, the largest tendon in the body, and the quads.

How: Lie on your side, push your arms up, and place the foam roller just below your hip. Using your arms and abs for balance roll from the hip to the knee. Afterward, switch legs. 

 

Shoulders and Sides

easy fascia exercises shoulders and sides

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Increasing range of motion in your shoulders.

How: Lie on your back with the foam roller under your shoulders. Place your hands behind your head, tighten your abs, and roll along the shoulder blades, lifting one arm slightly. Afterward, lift the other arm slightly. To target the sides, put the foam roller in the same position but lie on your side so that it is positioned below your armpit. 

 

Glutes

easy fascia exercises glutes

Image: Women’s Health

 

Why: Releases trigger points in the glutes and helps relieve hip and lower back pain.

How: Sit on the foam roller and cross one leg over the other knee. Lean toward the leg on top and roll over your glutes. Afterward, switch legs. 

 

There are many easy fascia exercises that you can do to help increase your mobility and flexibility, decrease your pain, and prevent injuries. Don’t let the word fascia scare you, it’s really very easy. Just think of it as a really good massage you can give yourself!