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Flexibility: The Simplest Explanation

Updated on June 15, 2017

As a Sports and Exercise Science graduate, I found stretching mechanisms complicated. Learning about Proprioceptors and Golgi-Tendon Organs just seemed to make things even more difficult to understand.

After hearing the "Fuzz" speech by Dr Gil Hedley, and being able to see inside an actual muscle made the seemingly complicated subject easy enough for anyone to understand.

"Cobwebs become Cables"
"Cobwebs become Cables" | Source

Think of 'Fuzz' as Cobwebs

In Hedley's speech he refers to Fasciae as "Fuzz", I prefer to use cobwebs for my analogy.

Imagine that every night when we go to sleep, some small cobwebs build up around our muscles. When we wake up and stretch, we break those cobwebs.

If we don't break those cobwebs they stay there, and the cobwebs become thicker and more difficult to break. If we don't break the cobwebs after a few weeks, months or even years those cobwebs intertwine and become thick like string and eventually cables.

"Cobwebs become Cables".

The thicker they become, the more effort we need to break up the cobwebs. Once thick like a cable, stretching alone won't be enough to break up the cable, it will require regular deep massage or weighted/ assisted stretching.

Understanding the 'Fuzz' analogy, we can apply a "use it or lose it" philosophy to stretching. Most sports use a limited range of movements, and the majority of people who stretch regularly tend to focus on the same few muscle groups. This means we can have fuzz free areas in some parts of our body, and stiff fuzz packed areas in other parts, which often leads to imbalances in our body and can cause a whole bunch of problems.

It is easy to see why stretching routines that target every part of the body such as Yoga are so good for our bodies.

Partner assisted stretching
Partner assisted stretching | Source

Applications for use:

  • Stretch everyday (ideally in the morning)
  • Stretch every part of the body
  • Neglected areas that have become stiff may require extra attention (deep tissue massage, weighted or assisted stretching)

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