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Forget what you know about anatomy

Author: Erik Roland. (work in progress march 8, 2015)
Forget what you thought you knew about human anatomy. Your body does not function as you have been told. What I will show you on this page they do not teach personal trainers, pilates or yoga instructors or any course i took in my fitness education.

The (old) model of the human body we all have been told, is that of the skeleton and the muscles which holds it up.

If you, like me, have felt that there has been a missing link to how the body works, you will see that a lot has been taken out of the explanation – in fact, an entire system consisting of tissue stronger than steel, with ten times more nerve connections than the muscles in your body.

This is a new field within science about anatomy and physiology of the human body: The First International Research Congress about this topic was held at Harvard Medical School, Boston, October 2007.

Before you read this article, make sure you see the ENTIRE video first:

Anatomists have considered the fascia dead packing material, just like you see in the top video, since the first dissections of humans in 1548. The inclusion of this “skin” to the skeleton and the muscles impacts our traditional understanding of the anatomy of the human body. The body does not operate as we used to think.

The thickest part of the skin/membrane that covers the muscles is called fascia profundis. It is made of collagen fibers. It covers our entire body, has viscoelastic properties, can contract, is stronger than steel, and it distributes forces from either “stretch” or “activity” from a small/local area to a big/global area of the body.

It is only recently that researchers started to see fascia as a strain distribution system, and investigating its properties and how it relates to the structural health of the body – and even our emotional health and feeling of well being.

Anatomy books tell you that the body consist of 600 muscles that act upon the skeleton by lengthening/shortening, but if you just remove the skin of a human body, it will present itself as ONE big chunk of meat. Because of fascia (which is always ignored in the books). If the anatomist were to add a poster of your true human anatomy, including its fascia, fascia is all you’d see – not 600 muscles. Thick and white in some places and nearly transparent in other areas. It reaches all over the body.

Much like how juice in an orange is organized as units of drops and units of boats into one stack of boats, every organ in your body is wrapped in fascia. The muscle cells would be like fish swimming in the sea if they were not contained in a net (fish net so to speak). Just like in an orange, it is the fascia that gives the muscles the shape.  It is the fascia that may give the rectus abdominis muscle the shape of a six-pack. So fascia organize muscles cells and connect muscles to bones and other muscles.  Fascia is the stuff that hold us together, it is a net of collagen hat surround the body – much like the spider-man suit. 

Grab hold of the collar of your shirt and give it a little tug. Your whole shirt responds, right? Your collar pulls into the back of your neck. The tail of your shirt inches up the small of your back. Your sleeves move up your forearms. Then it falls back into place. That’s a bit like fascia. You can’t move just one piece of it, and you can’t make a move without bringing it along. 

Fascia Profundis is like a suit under our skin.
From a real arm. Fascia Profundis is like a suit under our skin. – Click to enlarge

When we do yoga, it is the fascia that we stretch, not the muscles. We utilize the strength of the fascia when we become “stiff as a board”, for example when we do the plank – or just like you could see in the video at the top.

The tissue around and between your muscles acts like a super strong spider-man-suit. It transmits strain from a local area to a global area of the body.
The tissue around and between your muscles acts like a super strong Spider-Man-suit that transfer/distribute strain from a local area to a global area of the body.

The fascia can stretch like chewing gum if you pull it gently. It will resist if you pull it hard. If you don’t move, it will get dry – this is known as aging (although inactivity is the contributing factor more than time itself). Fascia can act like wool in the sense that it can shrink and get very strong – it happens if your fascia does not get enough movement, hydration and relaxation.

Hydrated fascia will stretch. Dry fascia will rip. To hydrate fascia it is not enough to drink water, you must also move!

Fascia is what prevents all 65% of water in our body from ending up in our feet. Unlike our blood system, it does not have a heart to ensure circulation – you must move. To move the body is like squeezing and releasing a sponge that is under water – movement cleanses and hydrate it. Fascia, acting just like a sponge, need to regain water loss after movement. Fascia takes up fluid/water best when you are completely relaxed – just like animals relax, or how you should relax after yoga.

What is felt like soreness in your muscles does not come from your muscles, but your fascia! Waste products from the cells get stuck/collected in the fluids of the fascia because it does not move. That is why massage after training will prevent soreness.

You can make fascia more elastic and more flexible with training.

Fascia is our richest sensory organ. The amount of nerves and sensory organs in the fascia is 10 times more than what is found in muscles. Having a healthy fascia will make you feel well. A unhealthy fascia can make you feel trapped in your own body. Most injuries are fascial. Fascia is not living cells, therefore it may take a long time to heal – much longer than live muscle tissue.

Experts on fascia insist that the body is a bio-mechanical unit organized as a tensegrity in which bones are floating inside soft tissue as opposed to the classical view where soft tissue is hanging off the bones:

If you have stomach for it – below is a clip of half of some human muscles tissue:

Fitness and fascia

Fitness is about getting better at movement than you used to be. Movement involves strength, flexibility, motor control, ability to breathe, to create tension and to relax.

Knowing about fascia could make you train flexibility and strength in a stronger, better and much more effective way. Seeing your body as ONE unit is the key to incredible flexibility and incredible strength. You better start learning about fascia if you want to become super fit. You better know how to treat your fascia if you want to feel young and vital.

When you do strength work, fascia is essential to control. When you only train one muscle you do not train fascia. The inability to control fascia is what can make make a big bodybuilders look weak compared to a skinny gymnast. The gymnast integrate all the muscles together to control the fascia – that sheet which is stronger than steel! A bodybuilder isolate one muscle at a time so he does not train the fascia, does not train how to utilize it (except when training flexing).

Strength training and the sport/art of bodybuilding are two very different activities. If you train fitness with the mentality of a bodybuilder (trying to achieve local muscle tension) your mentality will hold back the results.

Understanding the role of fascia can make you much stronger
Understanding the role of fascia can make you much stronger

What if..
We have all heard that genetic differences is the reason some people have better athletic skills than others.
In the same way we know that some people are naturally good at dancing – but we also know that it can be learned.
What if some people are naturally good at controlling the fascia – but it can be learned..?

The strength of your body is expressed via the tendon/fascia system. Not the muscles! This “suit” is best trained when you engage several muscle groups and poorest when you train only one muscle group.

Bodybuilding er en sport/kunstform hvor utøveren behandler kropen som en skulptur, ofte ved å hindre bruk av styrke fra hele kroppen
Bodybuilding er en sport/kunstform hvor utøveren behandler kropen som en skulptur, ofte ved isolere deler av kroppen. På bildet hindrer utøveren bruk av skuldrene for å løfte.

To become fit: Use the muscles in harmony to create strong sheets different places in the body.

How to train fascia

By controlling your fascia with you can create strong sheets just on the back, from heels to neck, just the front, the entire body, just lower body, under your feet, around your middle, only one arm etc.

Example:

Try: Make arch of your foot and feel your glutes engage!
Relax your foot and lift heels – no glute!
To train this, practice gripping a towel on the floor with your foot.

SQUAT: Grab the floor with your feet to activate glutes.

– The stronger the foot- the stronger the glutes!
Intension – but no tension.
In the video below I am only thinking about fascia:

Stretching:

Stretching and moving is a way of keeping the fascial system of getting clogged up! You can change the resting length of the fascia! This is what we do in yoga. This change will affect your posture, function, you will feel loose and unrestricted. The best way to stretch fascia is active stretch such as Jefferson Curls commonly used in gymnastics training.

One movement creates stretch in more places than you thought
One movement creates stretch in more places than you thought. When you think you only stretch the hamstring, the tissue under your foot stretches 25%! – Click to enlarge

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Really not so many muscles
Really not so many muscles  – Click to enlarge

Bindevevet rundt og mellom musklene er som en skidress/spidermandrakt.
Drakten fordeler belastning
– strekk fordeler seg over hele kroppen, og drakten trenes best ved aktiv strekk (som rectus abdominis strekk/split-stretch.
– Drakten trenes best når du engasjerer flere muskelgrupper og trenes dårligst når du engasjerer en muskelgruppe.
Bindevevet i drakten fungerer best når det er fuktig. Tilførsel av væske KREVER bevegelse, det er ikke nok å drikke vann. Muskelsårhet skyldes at avfallstoffer fra cellene blir liggene i denne vesken fordi den ikke beveges.

Å bevege kroppen er som å klemme og slippe en svamp som er senket i vann – det renser svampen! Drakten tar opp maksimalt med væske ved fullstendig avslapning – slik dyr slapper av – slik man slapper av etter yoga..

Kroppen består av over 60% vann. Men det samles ikke nede i føttene fordi det er organisert i bindevev – akkurat som i en appelsin, der hver eneste dråpe er pakket inn.
Hva sitter du igjen med hvis du skviser all safta ut av en appelsin? – Masse bindevev! Det samme vil du se i kroppen hvis du tar bort alle musklene!

Det er bindevevet som gjør deg stiv som en stokk -> tren HELE spidermanndrakten din og ikke bare strekk en enkelt muskel.

Nervetråder og blodårer til musklene går via supermanndrakten. Hvis vevet i drakten er kort så blir både signaler og næring til musklene begrenset – gjør deg SVAK.

Tren bindevevet ditt ved å begeve kroppen på en måte som strekker og styrker HELE drakten. Beveg ALLE ledd på en kontrollert måte slik at ikke bindevevet blir kort et eneste sted. Husk: Drakten fordeler belastning! Det betyr at hvis du er stram et sted, så vil det påvirke resten av kroppen.

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