Trigger point guide
The following guides point directly to ground zero for the pain, discomfort and often the tightness experienced within specific areas. As you can see, often the pain is not necessarily generated at the same location of the trigger, or tight muscle for that matter. Be sure to look at the affected areas (where pain and discomfort or tightness resides), and then locate the corresponding X. Place the softball, lacrosse, baseball or golf ball on the X.
The key is targeting the tightest muscles and remaining in the best stretch positions for the targeted muscle as long as possible. Find the spot, get on it right away and stay put until you win.
Rolling prior to sitting tenderizes the area to be treated. Jumping right onto a ball can be traumatic for the body. If too abrupt it caused muscles to tense and up instead of relaxing. Roll the targeted area until you feel the muscles soften and the sensitivity reduces. Be mindfully aware of the areas with the most pain or discomfort.
Map your pain using the trigger-point guide above. Be sure to place the ball at the "X" as much pain is referred and may not originate where it is initially felt. Look for a relative 8 out of10 on pain scale. Place ball on "X" and remain still until pain reduces to a 6 or lower. Doing so removes all pain and allows for muscles to function properly.
Once you have addressed the trigger it's time to stretch, restoring the muscle back to it's original or optimal state. The newly developed function is immediately incorporated into the movement patterns which promote stability and mobility. Over time muscle tone will balance, inner resistance ceases to reduce performance, and every movement is made accessible.
Progress through the _____ sections below completing the recommendations. Before getting started here are a few things you may want to know.
- ID and locate the area with the most pain first and make it the priority. It's much like paying off debt, the more resources you free up, the sooner you'll have more to deal with making it easier as you proceed.
- Find The Pain, Get On It and Stay On It! Don't play yourself, if you want to feel better, move better and simply be better, you'll need to find the pain that is essentially the boulder in the road or simply pebble in your shoe. Pain that registers 8 of 10. Don't play around or dibble dabble with this, get to the root of the pain as quickly as possible. In class time it's limited and therefore you must find the most problematic or painful area and within the muscle group. Remember "X" will mark the spot where you place the ball as the pain is likely being referred to a number of areas within the muscle group and surrounding areas.
- Once You Find It... Get On It. Stay On It. Consistency is super important. I mean consistency of stillness for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The least amount of movement the better. The more deliberate you are, the more the body will recognize intention and will know what to do next. Fidgeting is taken as fighting by the body and will cause it to literally push back. Instead of muscle softening allowing the ball to become one with the tissue of the muscle, when tense, the muscle responds by contracting to protect the tender areas being targeted.
- Focus on your breathing at all times. Once you settle in on a spot, begin monitoring your breathing ensuring breaths get deeper rather than getting more shallow. Panting demonstrates lack of stability and increased effort level which makes the body respond stressfully, increasing pain and resisting the release of the knotted fibers of the muscles.
- Time Under Tension, The Better. Time under the tension you create consciously encourages the body to adapt and conform to it's newest conditions being created by how you feel and what you do. Whether it be longer, more elastic, stronger and more stable, the muscle tissue needs to be stimulated as frequently as possible. 15 minutes here and there may be enough relief yourself of a pain here and there, however, until completely balanced and aligned with proper range of motion, the will potentially create knots daily. Truthfully, on the front end, it's a steep uphill climb if you achieve your fullest potential or optimal performance with less than 3 times per day, everyday... yes for the rest of your life that you plan to live healthily, fit and free of pain. Seriously, for the most part you are sitting and lying for 4 to 8 hours daily, simply sit and lie on a ball.
This muscle group really has 2 things you'll need to address 1) the flexion (forward bending of hip) and 2) flexion of the knee. For best results, make the TFL area the first target. All the muscles of the quadriceps converge here so reducing the tension has an overall affect on the entire leg. Once thoroughly working the TFL, move on to the other muscles of the quad. In the event the quad muscles are too tight to properly stretch the TFL, begin with Quad.
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Kneeling Box Hip Stretch
Maximus, medius and minimus,
Difficulty doing deep squats, stabilization phase of a lunge (bottom position), step ups, etc... tight glutes affects practically anything that requires the glutes to generate strength and stability individually. Sure you may be fine doing a thruster (2 footed glute move), however when it comes to the unilateral strength and stability, knotted glutes will and can negatively impact force generation as well as limiting range of motion when deep flexion of the hip is needed (deep squat, lunges, uni squats etc..). Truthfully every muscle in the glute group needs to be thoroughly addressed. The good news is that the glute "maximus" tends to be easier to locate and treat, while the medius, minimis and piriformis require a bit more manuvering.
Once you have treated the glutes (mazimus, minimus and medius) the Piriformis is usually next up because it is closely connected with the 3 primary glute muscles mentioned above.
Research suggest that hamstrings health is dependent upon the health of the tissue and the balancing of the tension between the hamstring group and quads (front of thigh). These muscle make straight leg raise impossible and therefore are high on the priority list muscle group to attend to. Take up to 6 minutes to 1-3 spots.
Click to enlarge images and watch video below
When it comes to having a strong stance, It's common to see students struggle due to lack of mobility of the ankle joint. The ankle joint is greatly controlled by the muscles of the calf and shins and when these muscles are too tight to extend and contract efficiently, the ankle loses a great deal of stability as well as mobility, therefore making it a real challenge just to stand in a stable lunge position, not to mention attempting to apply force (such as during a band push). Even something as simple as standing on one foot is affected which points to a serious reduction of running speed, jumping and throwing. Target the "x" is the order provided. Allow yourself at least 5 minutes splitting the time between the front (shin) and rear (calf).
Although shin splints may not be an everyday occurrence, shin pain is for 85% of student athletes. You can be sure if you are dealing with any form of shin splinting, one or all of the targets marked "X" will be sore and in need of attention.
Pain in the Pectoralis (chest) is common for athletes following an upper body workout, however tight chest muscles (Pectoralis Minor) are usually connected to shoulder mobility issues and therefore is treated as part of "shoulder mobility". Usually combining the two Lats (Latisimus Dorsi) "X" and the Pec "X" leads to a great deal of relief and improved performance.
Pain within the shoulder and reduced range of motion are treated differently. While reduced mobility is common, impingement can also be experienced with or without a great deal of discomfort by minimizing or eliminating certain movements, such as reaching to the highest shelf. In this section we'll relieve any discomfort by directly releasing the muscle responsible for compression within the shoulder joint. Typically the muscles below are much less active than the muscles of the actual shoulder therefore potentially causing major issues in terms of stability and strength. Take 10 minutes to address target the "X" marked below before proceeding to chest and lats.