Squatting on a foam roller? Possible
In order to carry out a squat on a foam roller you need much more than just good balancing skill, great proprioception, healthy joints and proper muscle strength. The key is the decent fascial net and myofascial system throughout your whole body.
What is fascia and what is it's function?
Fascia has an appearance similar to a spider's web, is densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia.
Fascia like other soft tissues has variable degree of elasticity that allow it to withstand deformation when forces and pressure are applied as it can recover and return to its starting shape and size. It response to load , compression and force, as at the beginning of loading, fascia has an elastic response in which a degree of slack is taken up.
During physical activity fascia has a huge role in force transmission. It stores energy, transmits energy and absorbs or alleviates forces. There is a symbiotic relationship between your muscles and your fascia; when one contracts, so does the other. It helps to protect the muscles and internal organs. Overall, the main function of visceral fascia is to comfortably suspend all the organs within their cavities while you are running, jumping or weight lifting.
How to keep your fascia healthy?
1. Warm up before exercising
You know you should warm up before a workout. It helps prepare the muscles for movement, which is exactly the same reason it's good for your fascia. Loosening those connective tissues will improve your mobility, making it easier to run, jump, lunge or lift.
2. Proper form of exercises
A regular exercise routine helps prevent adhesions or restrictions within your fascia. Exercising also strengthens your muscles and joints, making it easier to maintain a healthy body alignment. But none of that matters if you don't use proper form during your workouts.
In order to strengthen and grow muscles, you need a steady supply of nutrient-rich blood. When you run flat-footed on concrete or squat with all the weight in your toes, you are putting undue stress on your body. This puts tension on your fascia, which then compresses your blood vessels. Use proper form, and you'll avoid compensation patterns and unnecessary force. Listen to your body and do not let group sessions and high impact activity trainings lead you to an unproper choice of barbell, reps of exercise...etc
3. Stay hydrated
Just like your skin, fascia loses elasticity when it's dehydrated. Lack of fascial stretch and flexibility directly impacts the mobility of your muscles and joints, which puts you at risk for injury. Thirsty fascia is also vulnerable to fraying, thereby threatening the integrity of your fascia, as well.
4. Be aware of your posture
Ask a profession to find out if your posture is proper and healthy. You can also stand in front of a mirror to check your natural posture, observe the picture you see. For instance, do you notice your shoulders slouching and your head coming forward? The gravitational pull on your neck can cause the fascia to recoil, leading to back pain.
As a physiotherpist I often have patients with fascia issues, chronic pain syndromes or other unknown origin of painful knee, low back or hip. In many cases when doctors can not find any structural problem and the patient ends up in our physio office I find Fascial Distorsion Model technic very useful to diagnose and treat these people. If you are one of these people, feel free to contact me.