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Saturday, October 26, 2013
Fascial fallacy

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I was wondering if you know what fascial stretching is. I'm not really sure what it is or what it is supposed to do. I can remember reading about it some time ago in a fitness magazine. I think it was Weider's magazine. I don't have any other information other than the name of it. Can you help?

-- Stretch

Dear Stretch:

You bet I know what it is. I'm sure not too many folks do.

A fellow in Cincinnati, Ohio, (who shall remain nameless), several years ago coined the term. This guy was, I believe, a frustrated bodybuilder. I do remember him always being at bodybuilding contests, but never entering the contests.

Anyhow, when he realized his bodybuilding career was not exactly going where he would have liked it to go (up), he became a "guru" to other bodybuilders. I use the term loosely. (This is perhaps as diplomatic as I can be.)

He would help people get prepared for bodybuilding shows. This would include nutritional advice and pre-contest dieting. He sold nutritional products for bodybuilders. In order to assist flagging sales of his products, he came up with the technique he named fascial stretching. (That part is my opinion. But, I believe a good one.)

He steadfastly maintained that in order to attain your full potential as far as muscle size is concerned, one must stretch the fascia tissue that surrounds all of your muscles to create "space" for your muscles to expand into. (That's the best way I can describe it.)

He believed that if this fascia was too tight around the muscle, it would not fully grow. Thankfully, this tissue is indeed very tight around the muscles. That's the way we are constructed.

Well, he implored his followers to very, (and I mean very) vigorously manipulate and massage the muscles post-workout. In fact, I wouldn't call it "massage." It appeared more painful than massage. Pulling and stretching the muscles into all types of contorted positions. It was truly fun to watch! It was at best, painful. At worst, some guys got injured.

I would not recommend you attempt this. Trust me when I tell you that the fascia surrounding your muscles will grow right along with the muscles. All the stretching in the world will not produce world-class muscles. This is genetically predetermined.

Stick to the tried and true methods of hard work and proper nutrition.

Good luck and train hard!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has over thirty years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at; mrfitness1@aol.com, Facebook us, or stop by Bodyzone Fitness Centers, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.