by Ashley Black
Look better, feel better, and live better by addressing your fascia and correcting your posture.
If you’ve been told your whole life to stand or sit up straight, you may be aware that good posture is important, at least aesthetically. But do you really understand the implications of having bad posture and the domino effect it can have on your function, performance, appearance, and overall health?
When your structure is out of alignment, it can throw off your biomechanics (the way your body moves) and wreak havoc on your fascia (the body’s connective tissue and support system), causing imbalances, misalignments, tension, and pain. The brain will signal the fascia to protect and stabilize the structure – like wrapping duct tape around a precarious Jenga puzzle – as a temporary solution. This causes the fascia to recoil and adhere to the structure, but over the long term, this temporary “fix” creates a buildup of fascial adhesions that begin to limit your range of motion and impede function, causing restriction and pain.
Now imagine placing impact or weight on that wobbly Jenga puzzle. It’s easy to see how, over time, the structure would become so unstable that eventually, it would be unable to endure the tension and strain placed on it. While activities like weightlifting and high-impact exercise can have a host of benefits for your body, they can also be detrimental for fascial health if they are performed with incorrect posture and body mechanics! That’s why it’s imperative to correct the root issue before you start a workout program so that you can maintain proper posture throughout each movement and reap both the short and long-term benefits for your overall health, function, pain management, and aesthetics.
Training your body to maintain correct form and alignment, no matter what the activity, can prevent a lot of discomfort and health issues, as well as improve your body composition.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 of “The Cellulite Myth: it’s not fat, it’s fascia” on this topic:
“If you can’t stand properly, how in the world are you going to lift weights properly, or do a boot camp class, or Pilates, or lift kettlebells, or yoga, or run, or anything else? You can’t. Every single movement will cause varying degrees of damage if your stationary structure is out of alignment.”
Besides posture and mechanics affecting our overall function, have you thought about how symmetry and beauty go hand in hand?
When fascia recoils, it doesn’t only adhere to surrounding structures; it also binds to the skin, muscle, and surrounding tissues. When the fascia has adhered to the skin, it pulls the skin down in that spot while the fat is pushed up through the web-like grid of connective tissue, which creates the dents and dimples commonly known as “cellulite”. It can also trap the fat into rolls and fat pockets and create other aesthetic issues. When we understand these concepts, it’s easy to see that many common beauty issues are a tell-tale sign of fascial recoil in that area of the body, which tells us that the fascial system is unhealthy and must be addressed!
How to Correct Your Posture
Treating your fascia is a must in order to achieve optimal function and performance! The FasciaBlaster® is the tool of choice when it comes to fascia treatment and restoration! This amazing self-use tool will allow you to loosen and release the fascial adhesions that are causing restriction and tension and preventing you from maintaining proper posture and alignment. Work on making these habits part of your new lifestyle of keeping your fascia healthy and supple and retraining your body to maintain correct posture and mechanics.
Increase Your Flexibility and Range of Motion
It’s important to stretch the long lines of structural fascia in order to stretch and lengthen the fibers, loosen fascial tension, and increase your range of motion. Watch this video to learn a fascial “flossing” technique to incorporate after your FasciaBlasting sessions in order to stretch and release fascial adhesions. You can practice this daily as part of your overall fascial restoration regimen.
Align Your Structure
One of the main factors of fascial health is having proper mechanics and posture. If you’re FasciaBlasting and have a good fascia therapy regimen going, but your body is out of alignment and you don’t address your symmetry, your fascia will continue to do what it has always done. You can make amazing progress with the FasciaBlaster®, but you don’t want to be taking two steps forward and one step back!
Try this simple “wall test” to find out where you’re fascially restricted and what areas you should focus on in order to have the range of motion necessary to hold your structure in the correct posture. While doing this test, analyze where you feel tension, pain, or restriction; that’s where you need to be focusing on FasciaBlasting, stretching, and conditioning! When you know what your problem areas are, it’s much easier to focus on fixing them!
- Stand against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your heels against the wall.
- Align your feet like railroad tracks and pretend there’s a stake in the middle of your feet that secures your feet to the floor.
- Now look down and make sure your ankles, knees, and hips are in alignment with your feet.
- Take a deep breath, then pull your belly button into your spine, straightening and elongating your core. Now cough once, feel your abdominal muscle engage, and hold that abdominal contraction. Cough again if you need to.
- Then take both hands and slide them down the sides of your body, relaxing your shoulders, traps, and arms.
- Lift your chin, and push your head and neck back against the wall.
- Now take your hand and make sure you have the width of 4 fingers behind your neck, and 2 fingers between the small of your back and the wall.
This is proper posture and you should be maintaining this stance throughout your entire day, whether you’re standing, sitting, walking, or performing your daily activities. Practice this posture daily – as often as you think about it – to really retrain your muscle memory to automatically assume and maintain correct posture throughout all movement.
You can read more about this test on page 114 of The Cellulite Myth.
Condition and Strengthen
Conditioning your muscles to stabilize your structure is so paramount to your posture and performance that I designed an at-home exercise program called I.C.E.® Foundations to teach you how to train with correct biomechanics. These exercises will take you through basic to advanced movements and teach you how to properly engage your muscles and develop a mind-body connection while maintaining the correct spine and pelvic positioning. Try these out and see if you notice a drastic difference in your workouts and form!
Tracking Your Progress
It’s important to document your results so you can gauge your continued improvement. In my bestseller, The Cellulite Myth, I detail the “5 P’s” test, which includes 5 methods to self-evaluate areas of fascial restrictions, adhesions, and distortions. Click here for a summary of the 5 P’s test.
Along with the self-evaluation techniques mentioned above, you can take these full body pictures in good, clear lighting to keep track of your results.
Be sure not to pose so that these pictures are as candid and accurate as possible.
Form the habit of maintaining correct posture by taking this process one step at a time. Addressing the root issues of why you’re experiencing tension, restriction or discomfort will give you noticeable results in the short and long term. You’ll find that as you focus on improving your posture and alignment throughout your daily activities, your health, performance, aesthetics, and overall quality of life will all come together and the difference will be astounding.