In December, I severely injured my neck and upper back, making basic, everyday movements excruciating. It was a humbling lesson for me: a tightness that I failed to address turned into paralyzing pain that I didn’t think was possible.
Although it became clear that my injury was a result of not warming up enough before workouts, I thought I had been! What I didn’t realize at the time was that sometimes the body needs a full spectrum of fascial manipulation to be truly prepared for physical exertion.
Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, sticks, and massage all play a role in manipulating connective tissue. Although I made sure to stretch before every workout, it wasn’t enough to loosen me up. It’s a lot like trying to brush hair that is tangled with a comb first. You can try, but it will be gnarly as it tries to move through your strands. Similarly, I found that taking time to get warm, roll out, and activate before moving into my more advanced training was crucial in preventing injuries. Now that I've learned my lesson, here's how I prepare my body for movement: