I heard a guy at my gym talking about fascial stretching. What exactly does this mean and is it something I should be doing?
Fascial stretching is all the rage in bodybuilding it seems. There are many proponents of this technique who swear it will allow an individual to grow larger muscles. I, for one, am not convinced.
The fascia is soft connective tissue that alternately surrounds and penetrates all of the body’s internal organs, including the muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures. In anatomical illustrations it can be seen as a white covering over the muscles of the abdominal region and over the tips of the fingers and toes.
The theory behind fascial stretching is that where the fascia covers muscles it can limit growth, kind of like the difference between filling a vase with water and a balloon. Because a vase can’t expand the volume of water can’t increase as it does with a balloon.
While this makes sense in theory, the fact is that fascia is by nature viscoelastic, meaning that it can expand and contract according to what’s underneath it. When muscles grow, the fascia conforms accordingly.
I have nothing against fascial stretching per se, but I don’t believe it will yield you significantly greater muscle gain than if you don’t do it.