Stretching and strengthening the spine’s core muscles and connective tissue.

 

For dancers and certain athletes increased flexibility is a necessity to improve their performance. There seems to be general agreement on the benefit to be derived from techniques that improve range of motion, but the various methods developed so far to accomplish this are still a source of often contradictory discussion and research.

Surprisingly enough, only a few studies consider the core muscles (red muscle fibers) and the fascia (connective tissue) as components of a stretching program. The core muscles and the fascia (30% of muscular mass, according to Michael J. Alter) provide support for proper alignment. Therefore, in order to allow for superficial muscles to perform and stretch optimally, specific connective tissue and core muscle stretching and strengthening exercises should be developed.

Because of the compensatory role that the spinal column has in misalignment, it is this area that will be addressed in this presentation with regard to strength and flexibility. To realize the potential of the spinal column, the articulation of each vertebra needs to be achieved. According to Christian Courraud (fascia therapist, Danis Bois Method), strength and flexibility are facilitated through moving a particular vertebra on a horizontal line while making a curve with the one below it and the one above. The spinal column is not held in a rigid position, but follows the curve thus created.

Using a source of outside resistance (such as Theraband) helps to develop proprioception and simultaneously strengthens the stretched musculature. For optimal effect the movement should be performed in a slow, unforced manner. Awareness of the fascia’s internal movement, an important component to range of motion, is introduced in this presentation