Home Blog What the Strength and Conditioning Textbook Never Taught You: Fascia Exists

What the Strength and Conditioning Textbook Never Taught You: Fascia Exists

Written on June 25, 2012 at 7:24 am, by Eric Cressey

It’s not uncommon at all to hear recent college graduates in the strength and conditioning field talk about how they encounter a number of things in the “real world” that were never even considered in an exercise science curriculum.  And, while I’ve previously shared my thoughts on this topic in Is an Exercise Science Degree Worth It? – Part 1 and Part 2, the focus of today’s post won’t be debating the merits of this degree. Instead, it’ll be outlining some of the holes in a typical exercise science curriculum and learning accordingly.  With that in mind, here is my first point that rarely gets consideration in strength and conditioning textbooks:

Fascia actually exists.

Amazingly, I went through an entire undergraduate education of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics without the word “fascia” being mentioned a single time.  In fact, we didn’t even discuss it when I had gross anatomy; the med students cut it away so that we could look at what was deemed “important” stuff: muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and organs.  And, when I got to graduate school, fascia really wasn’t discussed much in my endocrine-heavy kinesiology curriculum or the graduate level physical therapy courses I took for my electives.

Now, think about why so many personal trainers have never used a foam roller with their clients, or why a physical therapist or doctor might not appreciate how manual therapy could help with everything from anterior knee pain, to hamstrings strains, to ulnar collateral ligament tears.  It’s a school of thought on which they may have never been schooled.

Needless to say, “fascial fitness” is extremely important, and you need to understand why as well as how you can achieve it as you identify movement inefficiencies in your clients or athletes.  To that end, here are some recommended reads on this front:

8 Steps to Achieving Fascial Fitness – This was my write-up of a presentation from bodywork expert Thomas Myers back in 2010.

Anatomy Trains – This is Myers’ famous book on the topic. 

Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Lower Body – Dean Somerset’s presentation on fascia alone was worth the entire price of the product, but you also get the benefit of a bunch of other contributors’ information.

I’ll be back soon with more lessons the college textbooks never taught you, but in the meantime, get to reading on this topic and you’ll quickly separate yourself in the strength and conditioning field – and make a lot of clients and athletes happy with their results in the meantime. 

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  • Short and sweet. Anatomy Trains is a really solid book that anyone involved with physical activity should read.

  • It’s insane to see baseball trainers completely ignore this facet of movement prep, you’re right. A simple foam rolling circuit and twice-yearly visit to a Graston or ART tech does wonders.

  • Was there any reason for not using any sort of a lotion when working on his arm? Grip reasons? That big ass raspberry on his arm looks a little un comfortable.

  • tmac

    My school did actually touch upon the topics of fascia and importance of foam rolling. Recent graduate of iup!


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