In part two of this series we will be focusing on Mobilization Methods. It important to know that each method has different focuses. Some methods will improve positioning, some restore length to tissue that has shortened for whatever reason. Other methods work an exact location, while others will work on an entire muscle groups.
With this in mind, you should not limit yourself to just one technique. Most of the following mobilization methods can be used together. Take for instance if you are working on your Hamstrings. You could use the pressure wave method to loosen large areas of the Hamstring. You would use the contract and relax method to dig deeper into the tissue. The smash and floss method would be used for knotted tissue.
The first mobilization method we will discuss will be Pressure Wave. Pressure Wave Mobilization is best for restoring sliding surfaces, treating sore or tight muscles, releasing trigger points, and improving muscle contraction. This mobilization method can be done post workout, at night before bed, or anytime you’re trying to relax.
The Pressure Wave Mobilization is a specific way to work through deep layers of muscle and connective tissue. This method can also be used to deal with trigger points. Trigger points are tight areas in the muscle tissue that can cause pain in a total different parts of your body. Trigger points are commonly referred to as a “knot” in the muscle. A trigger point can also restrict range of motion.
To use this mobilization method you lie on a ball or roller completely relaxed. Being relaxed allows you to go deep into your muscle tissue. The pressure wave is simply, slowly rolling the target area over the ball or roller using the full weight of your body. It is important to do this slowly, keeping the full weight of your body on the ball or roller. The slower you move, the more pressure you create and the more benefit you will see.
Contract and Relax
The Contract and Relax Mobilization Method can be used to improve mobility and restore normal range of motion to shortened tissue. To use this method you once again lie on a ball or roller. You then build tension by engaging the muscle you are working on for 5‐10 seconds, then release the tension and relax, allowing the area to sink deeper into the ball or roller. This mobilization method should also be done post workout.
Banded Flossing is used to bring a joint into a good position by using a band, and then you create movement through the joint. The movement is what is called “Flossing”. During this mobilization you use the band to create a “distraction”. A distraction is defined as creating space or movement in a joint. This mobilization method can also effective in clearing an impingement. This method can be used at most anytime, before training, after training, or between sets.
Smash and Floss
The smash and floss mobilization method allows you to apply pressure to an area of knotted tissue. You lie over a ball, barbell, or roller and apply pressure, called “smashing” to the affected tissue. Then you “floss,” or move, the limb around in every direction through as much range of motion as possible.
As mentioned in part one of this series, more detailed information can be found in Kelly Starrett’s book “Becoming a Supple Leopard”. In part three of this series, I will discuss the specific tools used for these mobilization methods.