Most movement issues we see are due to what most people describe as muscle “stiffness” and/or “tightness.” In reality, your muscles are really numerous sliding surfaces built upon more sliding surfaces. Often problems arise when these surfaces no longer slide very well. Take a look at the photo above, see the cobweb-like structures on both sides? That is fuzz that has accumulated in between tissue surfaces. “Fuzz” is almost like an adhesive in that it causes your sliding surfaces to stick together as if they were glued down. This can result in poor positioning, diminished force production, and tends to rob you of maximal efficiency and performance. Even worse, you can put yourself on the fast track to injury if you let your untamed fuzz accumulate. You probably didn’t know it, but you are a fuzz making machine. Dr. Gil Hedley explains further in this video (just a warning, it does contain images of human cadavers so don’t watch if that kind of thing bothers you or if you are reading this while eating your lunch).
So, what causes fuzz to build up? There are a lot of reasons, but the bottom line is that inflammation is the primary cause. Typically this is inflammation from muscular damage like that sustained from working out, but it can also be worsened by systemic inflammation from a poor diet or disease. Inflammation from working out is unavoidable. However, you can make things easier on your body by icing your muscles and joints as well as avoiding foods that can cause inflammation – grains and gluten, for example.
As Dr. Hedley notes, you need to stretch and move in order to “melt” the fuzz that is building up in your body everyday (and it’s probably no coincidence the stuff resembles cobwebs). This is one of the many reasons why we perform dynamic warm-ups as part of our group classes. It’s also part of why we instruct everyone on self-myofasical release (ex: foam roller and lacrosse ball) techniques as well as band-assisted stretches. Yoga and massage therapy are also great ways to help keep the fuzz at bay. Whatever you choose, just make sure you are being proactive in your tissue health and working to reduce the amount of fuzz in your tissues.
- Kelly Starrett’s Mobility Project is an amazing and free resource on everything movement related.
- Tara Parsons is one of our members at Invictus and happens to be an awesome massage therapist.
- Heidi Fearon needs no introduction but her range of skills include acupuncture and massage.