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What are fascia mobility nets?

This is an excerpt from Stretch to Win, Second Edition, by Ann Frederick and Chris Frederick.

Fascia mobility nets (FMNs) are anatomical visual aids that help you easily assess, locate, and eliminate problem areas in your body. Always visualize any individual net with extensions and layers that can branch up and down, sideways, diagonally, or in spirals and can be deep or superficial (Myers 2014). In addition, keep it firmly in mind that single nets never work alone, and in sports and in life, they are all simultaneously active to greater and lesser degrees depending on function. The reason stretching may have not worked for you in the past could have been because you stretched where you felt the need as opposed to where you actually needed it.

Here’s an example: Stretching your hamstring didn’t work; it’s still tight. This often occurs because you addressed the symptom (i.e., where you felt the need) but not the cause (e.g., a tight hip joint and other muscles around the hip besides the hamstring). Here is another example: Stretching your shoulder didn’t work; it still hurts and feels weak when you challenge it with activities that require good stability and good mobility (e.g. swimming, throwing, grappling). This often occurs when your shoulder is too loose and not stable enough for power movements. There are likely regions nearby - above, below, or on the opposite side - that restrict movement. This forces regions that move to compensate with even more movement so the entire net can function. Over time, a chronic cycle of cumulative stress builds, resulting in regions along the net that are less mobile (hypomobile) and nearby regions in the same net that become too mobile (hypermobile).

The solution is to properly assess what doesn’t move optimally, which may be local (involving just one or a few net links) or global (involving most or all of the net), and only stretch what needs stretching. Next, reassess to make sure you completely solved the problem. Finally, finish by correctly retraining the movement. This approach helps you find solutions quicker and often eliminates problems for good.

As stated earlier, sports and life require the full participation of all fascial nets at any time. This means that fascial nets must be able to stretch, shorten, or stabilize. They must adapt to extremely fast power movements, such as Olympic lifts or sprinting, and to constant activation of postural muscles in long-distance sports such as swimming, cycling, and running. Stretching, shortening, and stabilizing can occur simultaneously within one or more FMNs.

Learn more about Stretch to Win, Second Edition.

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