Fascia training describes sports activities and movement exercises that attempt to improve the functional properties of the muscular connective tissues in the human body, such as tendons, ligaments, joint capsules and muscular envelopes. Also called fascia, these tissues take part in a body-wide tensional force transmission network and are responsive to training stimulation.
Whenever muscles and joints are moved this also exerts mechanical strain on related fascia. The general assumption in sports science had therefore been that muscle strength exercises as well as cardiovascular training would be sufficient for an optimal training of the associate fibrous connective tissues. However, recent ultrasound-based research revealed that the mechanical threshold for a training effect on tendinous tissues tends to be significantly higher than for muscle fibers. This insight happened roughly during the same time in which the field of fascia research attracted major attention by showing that fascial tissues are much more than passive transmitters of muscular tension (years 2007 – 2010). Both influences together triggered an increasing attention in sports science towards the question whether and how fascial tissues can be specifically stimulated with active exercises.
Fascia training follows the following principles:
While good to moderate scientific evidence exists for several of the included training principles – e.g. the inclusion of elastic recoil as well as a training of proprioceptive refinement – there is currently insufficient evidence for the claimed beneficial effects of a fascia oriented exercises program as such, consisting of a combination of the above described four training elements. Use of foam rollers or a roller massager before or after exercise for self-myofascial release appears to be helpful with regard to range of motion and soreness.