Olympian Or Not, Pliability Is Key

Olympian Or Not, Pliability Is Key

February 12, 2018|By Eric Owens|No Comments »
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I wonder how many elite athletes never made it to the Olympics this year due to injury. Imagine training for a moment that only comes every four years and getting injured right before that moment. Injuries due to overuse are very common before and during the Olympic games. The intense repetitive use of muscle tissue during training causes muscle fibers to become tight, rigid and less pliable over time, making them prone to injury. In looking at recent articles about Olympic athletes and recovery, what most physicians and trainers recommend that athletes do to try to keep muscles healthy is stretch, get massages, foam roll, rest, pay close attention to diet and hydration and many other things. While all these are important, one component of staying healthy that doesn’t get enough attention, if any, is achieving and maintaining muscle pliability. Even if this concept is top of mind, the way to get there with traditional options lacks effectiveness.

How come pliability isn’t at the forefront? If a muscle is not pliable, it’s more prone to exhaustion and injury. When we were kids, we could jump out of bed and participate in obscene amounts of physical activity without hurting the next day, but as we age, we feel like we need much more time to warm up and recover. Do you ever wonder why? The answer is pliability. Why does an athlete need much more warm-up and recovery later in his career? What makes some athletes less agile, less powerful, less flexible and less explosive? What makes an athlete slow down overtime, get injured and have to retire? We believe the answer to all of these questions is the lack of pliability.

To be able to tell if a muscle is unhealthy, all you have to do is touch it. Is it soft and pliable or is it hard and full of knots? When an athlete loses pliability, there is no amount of stretching, foam rolling or massaging that will recover it. We know this because everyone we see in our clinic stretches and foam rolls and their muscles still feel hard and rigid in areas that are hurting or slowing down their progress. Despite all their efforts, these athletes are much slower and less explosive, have less fine motor control and ultimately their performance is greatly diminished.

What we do at Delos is get rid of this rigidity with direct, precise pressure at all angles of a muscle to force the tight fibers to stretch apart. As the fibers stretch apart, the muscle becomes more pliable and usable. When muscles are pliable, a person can perform at any age and fitness level with the same capacity and energy as when they were children.

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