What follows are some recommendations to practice in order for you to move better, i.e. more gracefully and smoothly and certainly with a better sense of your body. Your mobility/flexibility work shouldn’t simply be about going from A to B, but rather about exploring the road there, then possibly going to C. Or even going from a to b, a to B, A to b, and so on. The road isn’t linear. Take the time to practice and connect and you’ll come out with a much greater appreciation for yourself.
This is all an experiment. Movement, creation, exploration. Someone on the internet or someone you know might profess some technique as the end-all be-all. We ALL RESPOND DIFFERENTLY. Trial and error. Trial and success.
Our nervous system, which dictates all of our movement, loves variety. Change things up. Even if I said do something one way, try it a different way or different direction. Lay on your back with your feet on the wall, hang from a pull up bar or rings, hang off the side of a table. Consider how gravity is impacting a certain set of tissues. Roll over, go upside down, etc. etc.
Whatever position you’re in, check in with how things may feel in another part of your body. Make a small shift and re-check. Lean forward. Lean back. What happens if you sit up taller? Feel your weight shift. Feel different muscles take up the load while you unload others. Go upstream and go downstream, young salmon.
When you’re trying to open up new ranges, make sure to breath. Absolutely crucial. I’ve seen one too many athletes try to force a new position while holding their breath. That’s like trying to ride a bike with the back wheel lifted. Your breath is actually very crucial to opening up new ranges. Accessing your parasympathetic nervous system is a key player in acquiring new movement, playa. Breathing let’s your body know that you’re comfortable, relaxed. Holding your breath sets off stress signals and impedes growth and discovery. Try different ways of breathing while you’re in different positions as well
Sadly, I think the fitness world got a bit carried away with the whole soft tissue/foam rolling thing. Spina said it best, “You can’t rub someone flexible.” Why would we want to “mash” our tissues? The nervous system is easily fooled, and if you see a change after crushing your tissues with all these weird sticks, balls and tools – chances are they don’t stick. You might see some temporary change, but when you wake up the next day things are back to normal. Generally, don’t try to annihilate your connective until you’re black and blue. Someone(s) took the whole self-imposed soft tissue work to another level and made a pretty penny off you. Yes, there are situations where you need to see a specialist and get some FR, ART, Graston or massage done, but not everyone and their mother needs to be humping the foam roller. Especially at the level some gurus tell you to go. And don’t have your friends step on you.
Go slow. Go medium. Go fast (but not hurried). Learn. Alternate speed between the eccentric and concentric. Pause in certain positions. Reverse halfway through a motion. As stated in the beginning, you don’t always have to go directly from A to B.