Written by Austin Harrington
Editing by Sam Warner
Editing & Production by April Jane Harrington
Attitude of Gratitude
Let’s goooo we are back and I am beyond pumped for this one! A year and a half ago I listened to Tom Brady’s book The TB12 Method. It was part of my reawakening, and brought an extra level of detail to my health and wellness plan. Although I have done some serious research since that book, the information to follow is inspired by TB12. I also want to make it clear that this routine isn’t just for the athlete or fitness enthusiast. Honestly, it may be more important for the average person who struggles with low back pain or the annoying neck kink. If you know me on a personal level, then you understand just how vital pliability is to my daily life.
For those of you who are new to this platform, thank you for taking the time to be here. The goal of these articles is to share my young developing knowledge in order to create a community of people growing together. The information is from my personal experiences and growing hunger for the scientific truth. I hope to help you find a lifestyle that is healthy and enjoyable in your routine!
Finally our mentors continue to urge us to build an email list. I hate ads and bullshit sales, so I can ensure you that the only thing I will be using your email for is content release and added value. If you would please put your email in the box, that would be greatly appreciated. Anyway enjoy article two, an Ancient Egyptian inspired message!
“Some people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel”
Over the past three years there have been a few life-changing routines I’ve adopted. Lifestyle shifts like fasting, understanding proper nutrition, and developing a morning routine. However, the routine and topic to follow excites me on another level because it isn’t frequently talked about. We are always looking to live and feel better, and an essential way that I live better is through pliability training. I don’t have all the answers and am still learning about this subject, but I will do my best to display the knowledge I have accumulated. Why believe just me though; let’s look at my favorite quarterback ever, as well as one of the most accomplished NFL quarterbacks of all time.
The Lesson of Legends
Tom Brady, arguably the GOAT (getting harder to say it’s an argument), says at age 40 he is in the best shape of his entire life. He says this after having played football in the NFL for 18 SEASONS. That’s incredible, and Tom is a legend, but he isn’t my favorite quarterback of all time. That spot is reserved for the biggest gamer I have ever witnessed play the game, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Brett was absolutely sensational to watch. The big time throws he would make and the miraculous escapes from defenders were second to none. He had a great career, but it was sadly cut short due to the physical taxation on his body. In his final seasons on the gridiron, he was immobile and could barely walk down the football field.
When these two legends both reached their respective 18th season as an NFL quarterback, they had two drastically different physical results. At year 18 in the NFL, Brett Favre was hobbled, eventually giving up the game because his body couldn’t keep up. Contrastingly, as we continue to see every year, Tom is energized, throwing darts left and right, even sprinting around the field (although the actual sprinting is tough to watch). Tom continues to workout and move freely without restriction. He continually states that the only way he will stop playing football is because of the time commitment it requires, not because of physical limitations.
So what’s the difference between Favre and Brady? Is it just genetics? Is it luck? Why does Brady feel youthful and invigorated as he reaches his mid 40s? Brady attributes his longevity to pliability sessions, hydration, and nutrition. Sure, I do think that there’s a few outside factors that have contributed to his health. His playing style is conservative, his team on the right side of blowouts, and there is a slight degree of luck involved to only have one major injury (an injury he recovered from in half the time an average professional takes). Although we recognize other factors, there is no doubt in my mind that the major reason for his longevity is his commitment to his regimen. A regime thoughtfully designed to return his body back to its natural state. On the other hand, Brett Favre’s routine, or lack thereof, was a bit different. He was commonly known as a hop-out-of-bed, skip the stretch, and just play the game type of guy. There wasn’t a ton of focus on recovery and injury prevention.
The lesson these two superstars teach us is important. It is a real life example that the habits and routines you practice every day will have a massive impact on your future. I think we would all agree that hydration and nutrition are vital to our health, playing a major factor in how we age, but why have most of us completely disregarded another pillar? I think the reason we have lost the importance of myofascial release is due to the natural pliability we have when we are young. As kids and young adults, a good night of sleep will cure almost anything. As we get older though, the human body starts to slowly lose its natural ability to recover. It’s simply just a fact of life. This means as we get older, we have to work harder to maintain a level of mobility and flow in our bodies.
Now, of course, structural damage or serious injury cannot be avoided. If your leg snaps in half, a few pliability sessions will not heal the damage. The injuries I’m referring to are chronic pain and restriction; ankle soreness, constant back or shoulder pain, or hip and neck restriction. Today, our society accepts pain and chronic injury as “part of working out” or “what happens when you get older.” Most exercise programs regard aches, pains, and stiffness as just part of the training program. Ex-athletes regard daily pains as a result of their playing career. Most injuries people suffer from every single day are absolutely preventable. I know this because I’ve been there; I’ve had six surgeries in my life. Some of those injuries were inescapable, but I know for a fact that a few of my major injuries were due to my habits and lack of holistic recovery.
Why I Believe
My football career was squandered due to injuries and my body constantly breaking down. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for how my football career turned out, because it was all on me. I had an ego, made poor decisions, didn’t work hard enough, and didn’t make the necessary lifestyle sacrifices. I ended up missing a few dozen games throughout my career due to injuries, and most of those games were missed because of non-structural injuries. The years following my football career were almost as physically tough. My lower back hurt every other time I played golf, my shoulder was constantly sore to the point where I didn’t want to lift heavy weights, and my hips were tight all the time. Pain, restriction, and limitation were familiar faces. This is the reason I am writing this article. To create awareness around ways to feel and move better. Because if I could go back to my sophomore year of high school with all the knowledge I’ve accrued over the past 3 years, my performance and ability to compete would have been dramatically different.
These days are a bit different than my college days. A morning pliability session paired with proper hydration returns my muscles to their original elasticity and plasticity (the ability to return to original resting length, and the tendency to assume a new and greater length). This rebalance enables my muscles to work optimally each day. I now have the freedom to do 5am weight lifting sessions, work shifts of 8 to 10 hours on my feet, and play golf daily. In order to be able to do all of these activities in the same day, my body needs to be in free flow and maintain proper circulation. It’s not only about balancing out physical activity though, inactivity can cause serious tension as well. I believe our bodies were meant to be in motion, but unfortunately some jobs and lifestyles don’t allow that. The addition of pliability training can equally help fight the back pain accrued from a desk chair.
In addition to the recovery and preventative benefits, pliability training has created an insane amount of flexibility in my body. I recently went to a golf fitting and instruction session. I was able to try some new sensory technology, wearing a new age vest and other gadgets to understand my body movements. It was a cool and educational experience, and after hitting some balls, the instructor had me do some range of motion movements. He was shocked at my range of motion, stating that I was hypermobile. He believed that I was most likely in the top 1% of players in terms of mobility. He assumed I was always that way, so it was a surprise to him when I told him about my past hip, shoulder, and overall movement restrictions. I have always been a decently flexible guy, but no one would have called me hypermobile. In fact, if a yoga instructor or physical therapist had given me a consult in college, they probably would have laughed at my efforts. This is one reason I know pliability works. Seriously, enough is enough. Daily pain is not a part of my life anymore, and certainly doesn’t restrict me from doing the things I love. Don’t let it restrict you!
Dehydration is Death
Before we dig into all things pliability, let’s touch on the importance of proper hydration. I’ll try to keep this brief, as I know you’ve heard this story before, but it needs to be addressed. Water is the most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development in your body. Hydration and pliability training go hand-in-hand. To understand the results of this relationship, imagine your muscles as beef jerky. When you open a bag of beef jerky, sometimes you get a smooth, bendy, and supple piece. This piece is easy to twist and nearly impossible to snap in half. It has a lively and natural color to it. On the other hand, occasionally you get a piece of jerky that’s really hard and crusty. It looks dried out, and pieces snap off the end of it with the smallest amount of pressure applied. This is similar to your muscles, as a properly hydrated and pliable muscle is flexible and supple. It is able to move freely in a wide range of motion and can absorb large quantities of force placed upon it. An inflamed muscle is like the crusty piece of beef jerky, it is dehydrated, creating a limited range of motion. Because of the lack of blood flow and the increasingly inflamed state, the muscle is not functioning optimally, making it extremely susceptible to strain, injury, and aggravation.
The simple fact is that most of our society is dehydrated, and some people are so dehydrated it honestly amazes me that they are still functioning. Chronic dehydration is linked to the development of serious health issues. The USDA predicts that 75% of Americans are dehydrated on a daily basis. I personally think that statistic is low, because I can count on two hands how many people I know on a personal level that maintain sufficient hydration. Health, nutrition, and anti aging expert Jeff Behar states “a 2% drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, and slow muscular response.” Along with the immediate side effects, drinking low levels of water can increase the likeliness of certain cancers, kidney stones, and prostate/testicular issues. This is mainly due to low frequency of fecal and urinary secretions daily, allowing toxins to sit in the large intestine for a long period of time. We don’t want unneeded toxins hanging out in our body. It’s not only about drinking water but also limiting dehydrating beverages. The main killers are soda and alcohol. I can understand the consumption of alcohol because of its connection with social events. I mean who doesn’t love a cold beer or glass of red wine. Soda, however, is a no go. Not even an option, and in my opinion is the worst thing you can consume. Soda/pop is a sugary and processed beverage that should be avoided at all costs.
As many of you know, water is the vehicle that keeps things flowing in our bodies. It is vital in order to maintain optimal function and recovery. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health “the human brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; and the lungs are nearly 90% water.” Water is a substantial part of us and we are constantly recycling it. The average person with a sedentary lifestyle will replace all the water in their body every 10-12 days. Very active people like athletes or people in extreme climates, can completely cycle their water supply in as short as 6 days. Personally, I sauna almost daily, workout, and/or play golf in the heat. Water is flowing in and out of my body, and with all this recycling of fluids it is important I maintain an adequate amount of water in my body. I definitely feel a difference in my energy levels, as well as my attitude, when I am dehydrated. I become easily irritated and tired. Additionally, most of the hunger we feel every day is out of thirst, boredom, or routine. If you are hungry, create awareness around why. I know in my life I get hungry after long periods of physical activity. In those circumstances, I usually need water, not the cheeseburger I crave!
How much should we drink?
Coaches and teachers always told me to stay hydrated, but I didn’t understand just how important it was until I did my research. My entire athletic life I was almost delusional about proper hydration, thinking I was hydrated when I wasn’t. Most of the time I was never even close. The USDA recommends that we drink 96 ounces of water a day (1.5 gallons), which is equivalent to twelve 8 ounces glasses. This recommendation is based off you doing zero physical activity and not being subject to warm environments. Due to my active lifestyle, I drink anywhere from 200-300 ounces of water on the average day. Now before you scream hyponatremia (water intoxication due most commonly to low sodium levels), understand that I’m never chugging water – I simply always have my 50-ounce water bottle with me. Please note that I do not recommend endlessly chugging water for an hour. It is really important to use common sense. I suggest that people with any sort of physical activity drink close to their body weight in water per day. Ideally, add in water with electrolytes or if you are as crazy as I am, water with salt. In the absence of these supplements you may just be flushing water through your body, adding salt and electrolytes will help you absorb and maintain the water. I will usually have one of these 50 oz electrolyte waters once a day, generally after my workout or any physical activity. My favorite brands I buy are Flow alkaline water, Aqua Hydrate, or Core Hydration. You can get good deals on cases at Trader Joes or on amazon.
The first thing you should do every morning; consume water. Before you brush your teeth, before you make your bed, before you scroll through your phone, drink water. It is so important in the morning for brain and body function. Please, please don’t drink coffee before water. I love my late morning coffee, but it is a dehydrating beverage. If you choose to start the day with coffee over water, not only are you failing to consume the essential liquid you need, but you are putting the body into a further dehydrated state. For those of you who have adopted fasting, it is crucial to be hydrated throughout the morning fasting period. I tend to drink 150 ounces of water each day before I consume any food. Remember I workout in the morning, so if you don’t do physical activity right away, or aren’t working in the heat, then you don’t need to be slugging water. The only time I don’t recommend drinking water is after a meal. Abstain from drinking water 30-45 minutes after a meal to let your digestive system work solely on the food. It is able to absorb the food efficiently if it isn’t taking in large amounts of water at the same time. Alright, there is my rant on hydration – make it a priority!
How does this Pliability thing work?
Most pain people feel on a daily basis lies in their muscles. When you strain or tear a muscle it is most likely caused by an overload or imbalance in that area. Your body works as an entire connected system, and when one muscle is overworked it pulls on others to perform. When muscles become unbalanced, short, and dense, they become less able to handle the force placed upon them. Therefore, when you – sit for a long time – weight train or over train in athletics – or strain your back moving a heavy object — a reaction occurs in your body. This reaction happens specifically in the fascia, a soft tissue that supports and connects your muscles connective tissue. The fascia is an entire connective system that runs through your entire body. When one of the negative reactions occur, excess lactic and carbonic acids, as well as damaged proteins build up in the tissues. With this build up of tissue the fascia becomes restricted, and this restriction begins to cause inflammation. If inflammation is not treated, it will slowly get worse and when it does, the connective tissues solidify. Over time, this restriction will start to cause pain, soreness, and irritation, while also creating an increased susceptibility to injury. Inflammation is our worst enemy. It’s the crusty beef jerky.
We combat this inflammation with pliability training and hydration. Pliability training is a targeted and purposeful practice of myofascial release; a form of physical therapy utilized to enhance skeletal muscle mobility, decrease pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles. Tom Brady describes pliability training as “targeted deep tissue muscle work in order to lengthen and soften the muscles, while at the same time rhythmically contracting and relaxing them.” Similar to a deep tissue massage; we release the tension while lengthening the muscle. The powerful force exerted by a human hand in TB12s case, or a tool in our case, softens and releases the build up of tissue. This process promotes an increased mobility, freedom, and injury protective state by bringing the range of motion back to the body and strengthening its ability to absorb force.
Massage expert Hall states that deep tissue work “Decreases recovery time for muscles by flushing out tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes, by increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, increases the speed that the body’s cells can eliminate their waste materials.” If we pair pliability with the proper hydration, it improves the body’s natural blood flow and circulatory function. This is important because the individual cells of your body rely largely on blood and oxygen flow, as well as the circulation of lymph; a clear fluid that surrounds your cells. Lymph is a filtering vessel that maintains the balance of fluid between the blood and tissues, and is an essential part of your immune system. But lymph doesn’t necessarily move through your body as blood does, its movement is more predicated on muscle contractions – i.e. a deep tissue massage or pliability training. This is why hydration and pliability is vital to maintain the circulation of fluids. Overall, they are the foundation of increasing proficiency in the body.
Can we just stretch? Foam roll?
If we want to prevent injury and create mobility, don’t we just stretch? The basic goal of stretching is to lengthen the muscles to prepare them for activity, and that’s exactly what pliability does to the muscles on a more effective level. You achieve the lengthening of the muscle with slow, consistent, forceful movements on the intended muscle. With pliability on top of lengthening the muscle, you also soften it due to the vibrating force. Certain forms of stretching can be effective to loosen up, but if there is a knot or build-up in the muscles, then stretching can actually make it worse by causing small micro tears in the muscle. A good way to think about this is to picture a gardening hose. When you go to use the hose, you lengthen it, making a clear and straight path for the water. This is similar to stretching, or in my case, an active warm up that involves functional movements. But if we do have a knot in the hose, similar to the build up of inflammation, you don’t just pull on the hose right? If you pull on the hose it will tighten further, therefore instead of pulling you have to untie the knot first.
Dr. Alex Twenge states the major difference between stretching and pliability is “the neurological stimulus that is elicited when we use an external force to work on the muscle. Impacting the muscle with a force triggers a pathway that signals the brain and tells it where the issues lie.” He continues to say there have even been studies related to pain, saying ‘there’s also some theories about how the roller and self MFR affect the DNIC, which is a pain pathway within the body.’ I thought that was very interesting, because Tom Brady constantly reinforces the principle of having your mind present during pliability, and rhythmically contracting your muscles. He says when your brain and body are present, they understand what is happening, increasing the muscles ability to absorb and distribute future force placed upon them. We can dive down the rabbit hole of neuro stimulus another time, but the key here is that although stretching and pliability have similar principles, they are different animals. As Dr. Twenge often says, “you stretch for an hour and a half you feel kind of better…. You get an hour and a half massage you feel like you’re walking on the moon! Floating!”
Okay if it’s not stretching then its foam rolling? Yes, it’s the same principle but on an advanced level from the roller you see at your local gym. Unfortunately, we can’t go roll on the comfortable foamy soft roller; we need a hard force ideally with vibration. This strong tool is needed due to the collagen in our body. Collagen is a support system found in the connective tissues, and the primary structural component of fascia. It is very light, but in proportion can be as strong as a steel cable. Consequently, the average foam roller just won’t cut it. It is essential to have an effective tool or experienced hands when doing pliability.
Isn’t this basically a massage?
Yes, pliability training is principally a deep tissue massage. The main difference is that a massage is passive and soft, while pliability training is focused, thoughtful, and less about relaxing. Pliability is forceful to improve muscle pump function and create new neuro pathways connecting the mind and body. But the origin of myofascial release derives from one of the oldest forms of medicine; Massage Therapy. Ancient Egyptians were the earliest adopters of massage as an alternative medicine, as historic tomb paintings show people being massaged. Caesar had a massage daily to relieve pain and stay mentally sharp, and it was a principal form of healing for Greeks and Romans. I do think our thumbs were put on our body for a reason – I can’t imagine they were intended solely to scroll Instagram or play Xbox.
Massage is still considered a form of integrative medicine by some doctors today, but has gotten a bad wrap in our advanced society due to prostitution parlors and inappropriate relations. It is an unfortunate truth that people have used massage as a pathway to abuse women and stain moral values, but we cannot let a few bad apples cloud all the amazing restorative benefits. In addition, in the last few decades’ massages have been thought of as an indulgence for the wealthy or high performance athletes. I do recognize that in today’s world they are expensive, but myofascial release is necessary. Not just for the athlete but for everyone. Personally, I try to get a deep tissue massage every few weeks. Ideally I would make that routine a weekly occurrence but financial restrictions don’t allow that for now. Robin Sharma has a 2-massage protocol that he makes mandatory for the top business executives and professional athletes he mentors. He says it is essential to have two 90-minute full body deep tissue massages each week. He understands how expensive it is, but says the mental, physical, and restorative benefits will make you feel better and add another level of productivity to your craft, earning that money back in the long run. I would absolutely recommend frequent massages if it is plausible for you. Thankfully though, we have some alternative methods. I believe we can reap the physical benefits of a deep tissue massage ourselves utilizing a few different tools.
The Benefits of Pliability Training & Myofascial Release
- Increased blood, oxygen, and lymphatic circulation
- Decreased pain and stiffness in muscles
- Increased preventive measures and rehabilitation for common injuries
- Accelerated recovery from training or athletic competition
- Restores and increases movement patterns
- Increased range of motion and overall mobility
- Restores function to joints and tissues
- Creates longevity in the body
- Decreases stress
- Increased skin care
- Improves overall enjoyment in life
To this point, we have only talked about the physical benefits of pliability and hydration. In a massage, there are the obvious stress-relieving benefits, and this holds true when it comes to pliability training. Kristen Staff states that, “research has estimated that 80% of disease is stress related.” I doubt that pliability alone will cure your stress or fix the underlying issue, but in my experience it definitely helps to feel better. This is because mental stress and physical tension have a direct correlation. Therefore, aside from the obvious negative mental effects experienced when stressed, your body also releases hormones that cause muscle constriction, vessel shrinking, and reduced circulation. If we add a pliability session, or a deep tissue massage, we would be able to relax and loosen the muscles, as well as deliver a better flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. I feel this relaxing sensation each morning when I release the tension in my shoulders and neck, immediately putting me in a better mood!
The pliability training, or in other words “self-inflicted myofascial release” (SMR) that we will be doing is obviously more affordable than weekly massages or a personal pliability specialist like the one Tom Brady has. We can’t all afford a massage when pain and soreness come around. With self-pliability training you are able to choose the timetable, area of focus, and duration, without the annoyance of scheduling an appointment. This makes it easy to adopt consistent sessions due the fact you can do it nearly anywhere and any time. Therefore, because this is self-inflicted, we will need a tool or device.
We will utilize one or more of the following: massage gun, foam roller, lacrosse ball, sphere, or roller with spikes. Ideally, the tool has vibration and a hard exterior (remember how strong that collagen stuff is). I’ve bought my products through Hyperice and have found the Hypervolt massage gun to be the best purchase I have ever made. Yes, ever. It is quiet, powerful, and portable. The portable aspect of it is not to be understated, as I always say, “I bring my vibrator everywhere I go!” That comment either gets a really weird look or a chuckle. Since I’ve had my Hypervolt gun and showed it to my friends, family, and co-workers, 7 others have made the purchase. Anyway, this is not a sponsored message or anything, it really is just that good – and for $399 it better be. You can find other affordable rollers and guns online by doing a little research!
I’m not going to bore you with an instructional course on how to foam roll or specific ways to treat each body part. That’s what YouTube and Google are for, but we can cover the basics. A full session in my routine will take 15-25 minutes depending on my soreness/tension levels. Be present during this session, you are training your muscles and mind to be strong while absorbing pressure and force. We will apply pressure using our roller or massage gun to a specific body part, starting at the bottom of the muscle working upwards towards the heart. It needs to be a hard tool or semi-intense pressure for us to actually make a difference. Create a smooth stroke of force on the muscles, while contracting and relaxing them rhythmically when the pressure is being applied. If there is a spot that is specifically tense or tender, hang out there for awhile. Hold the pressure in that tight spot and move slowly around the specific area a few times, like how a masseuse would work out a knot in your back with their finger. Some would call these areas “trigger points” – spend more time on them.
In a perfect world, we are always rolling the device upwards towards the chest area. This movement increases blood flow to the heart instead of away from it. The heart is, of course, the most important muscle in your body and the pumping machine at the center of the circulatory system. To what degree does this increase blood circulation in the heart? I’m not sure, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. What hurts is applying force to joints and bones. We only apply force on the muscles or soft tissue areas, not structural areas.
If you happen to have an injury, avoid rolling on the specific injured muscle or area. Target the connective tissues in the muscles around the injured area. Focusing on these connecting tissues will relieve the added stress put on the muscles surrounding the injury, as the surrounding muscles have to work harder to compensate for the injury. This will also create an increased blood oxygen flow to the damaged area. For example, Tom Brady and Julian Edelman added intensive pliability training to the muscles around their knee after their respective ACL tears. This practice optimized the recovery of the ACL ligament beyond what was prescribed by the doctor, playing a role in a full and speedy recovery. For most of us this supplement to recovery would equate to lower back pain. If you have a bad low back, do not ever roll directly on the lower back. That will most likely cause additional inflammation and irritation. Instead, roll on the muscles that have to work harder and may pull on the back, causing that stiffness. These muscles are the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and upper back or lats.
The body parts that I work during a session vary, but I generally focus on the shoulders, feet, glutes, and hips. Why the feet, you may ask? There are certain areas on hands and feet that connect to specific parts of your body, and if pressure and tissue release is applied to those areas it can affect the organ attached. Massage expert Chanakya Halls is all about it. She says ”tension released in the feet increase the flow of vital energy, as well as releases endorphins; the body’s natural pain killers.” It’s weird and not a super scientific thing, but it’s one of those ideas where there is a subconscious psychological effect of feeling relaxed. I love it. The shoulders and neck are another area that feel great to release the tension, instantly feeling relaxed. I try to start each morning with a neck and shoulders pliability session, I mean how could you be cranky after that? The remaining areas I typically work are my calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, lats, triceps, biceps, and forearm. Again, my back pain is almost directly linked to how tight my hamstrings and glutes are, and if my hips are tight, my squat movement and golf swing are extremely restricted. Basically, when it comes to moving athletically, the glutes, hamstrings, and hips are the key areas. The muscle that you decide to focus on depends on your goals and injury tendencies, just don’t neglect a full body session from time to time!
We can also supplement banded stretches and strengthening movements to help aid in stability and mobility. We need to train our muscles to perform efficiently in the tasks we ask them to do daily. Be thoughtful about where you are spending your time in the gym, and ask yourself the exercises you are doing are actually aiding you in daily life. For example, my trainer recently prescribed some banded shoulder stretches to do in between sets during my workouts. They have worked wonders for opening up my shoulders, and helpling release the soreness from the bench press. There are tons of strengthening exercises we can add to our workout routines or daily life to help create stable strength. I always recommend doing pliability first, but there are additional ways to create mobility that you should address with a trainer or certified instructor. Two great outlets are Austin Jochum (@austinjochum on Instagram), and Dr. Alex Twenge on Facebook. They add free value constantly; most commonly posting exercises and movements you can do easily to improve body function.
Pliability sessions are easy to adopt in your daily routine. We merely need to carve out 20-30 minutes of time. We can use it as a warm up for activity, post workout recovery, or just for restoring the muscles in general. You could do it during downtime when you are watching TV, taking a break from work, or in my case, listening to an audiobook. Pliability is apart of my daily morning routine, as it is liberating, releasing all the tension in the morning, creating a free flowing mind and body for the day ahead. If it is not feasible to add it to your morning, no big deal, I know most of my buddies do it in the evening when they are winding down for the day.
When I adopted consistent daily pliability sessions, it took approximately two weeks to get my back and ankle pain from a discomfort level of 7/10, to a game changing 1/10. Furthermore, it took a few weeks to not be in serious discomfort during pliability sessions. When adding pressure to your muscles, discomfort and stress is good, but serious pain is not. If you have been training hard, you will notice some strong discomfort in certain areas. The hamstrings, glutes, and traps seem to be the most sensitive in my experience. Overall, it takes your body a few weeks to create the proper blood flow and hydration.
Importance of Lifestyle
In closing, remember that our body is constantly in a fight against dehydration and inflammation. Nutrition, fasting, and fitness all contribute to reducing inflammation and aiding in your body’s natural pliability. The main goal in my health and wellness journey is to feel good each day, being an athlete or obtaining a low body fat really doesn’t matter, and is counterproductive if you don’t truly enjoy your life. With this mindset we will still pursue enjoyment in our daily routine, but it won’t always be fun in the moment. When you constantly seek instant gratification, the long term results can be scary. Therefore enjoying life to me pursuing something meaningful, not expedient.
I’m going to lose my mind if I hear one more person say, “you wait; you will be old and fat like me and not able to do those things anymore.” Honestly, I can only imagine the insane amount of time and energy it takes to raise children and provide for a family, but it’s kind of unbelievable how many people blame their circumstances. Again, I agree it may be tough but let’s be clear; your drinking habits, lack of time in the weight room, absence of pliability sessions, and a major deficiency with nutrition are the reasons you are now immobile – not older age. Beers, burgers, and inactivity – without the routines mentioned above – are a recipe for restriction. I say this because it’s important to understand how bad habits can compound against the body overtime. Time will reveal your lifestyle, good or bad. Let’s develop good habits when we can!
I’ve been lucky enough to find some routines that I believe I can maintain as I age, habits that will allow me to enjoy my lifestyle. I feel compelled to share them with you, even if there is a small chance you may adopt them. So go get a tool, schedule a massage, or do some sort of exercise that will regenerate your body. Add pliability into your life. Who knows, you may have no idea how good your body was intended to feel.
I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read this. If you have any questions or insights, shoot me an email at Harrington@AOGlifeofpassion.com or on Instagram at @Aharrington8. Seriously, feel free to reach out! Keep in mind that pliability is only one of six pillars that make up my holistic health and wellness approach. Fasting is another pillar, as highlighted in article one, and I will be releasing the other 4 pillars in the time to follow, as they all work in synergy together. The other four pillars are gratitude and mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, and a life of passion.
If for some reason you are holding onto a negative attitude in life, it is time to leave it behind. Limitation is a mentality, not a reality. We can be, feel, and live better. Keep pushing, and remember, our world needs more daily heroes, go out there and be one for somebody!
- Audiobook / Book – The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance
- Website – TB12sports.com
- Audiobook – The Health Benefits Of A Proper Massage: Learning What Our Body Needs To Heal
- Audiobook / Book – The 5AM Club
- Audiobook – The Art of Foam Rolling
- Article – Maintaining Proper Hydration
- Article – Is Myofascial Release Real?