STICK MOBILITY TRAINING AND ITS MULTI-FACETED BENEFITS

STICK MOBILITY TRAINING AND ITS MULTI-FACETED BENEFITS

Winter Wellness: Enhancing Your Cold Weather Adventures with Fitness Reading STICK MOBILITY TRAINING AND ITS MULTI-FACETED BENEFITS 7 minutes

... (OUTSIDE OF THE OBVIOUS MOBILITY GAINS)

Exercising with Training Sticks has many benefits to the person who engages with them regularly and implements it as part of a health and fitness strategy – most of the ‘press’ goes to the obvious acquisition and development of active mobility, and rightly so… having strength and ownership in odd positions is what helps build a robust and resilient body to perform optimally in the game of life, and the game of sport.

This article, however, is going to focus on the many unrecognized benefits that truly validate the Training Sticks, alongside its training principles, as an integral part of everyone’s pursuit of betterment from a health and fitness standpoint.

Modality Benefits

The following benefits are plentiful, but by no means all encompassing – there are more, I’m sure, to navigate and pursue, but by the time we are done here, you’ll have even more of a desire to employ Stick Mobility into what you do – without further ado, let’s go!

Flex

1 – Muscle Hypertrophy and Aesthetic gain - when using principles of irradiation (connected chains of muscles/fascia contracting as an integrated functional unit) along with isometric contractions (in and around 70-90% of maximal effort) in lengthened extended positions, this is an optimal breeding ground for the development and increase in protein synthesis (the building of muscle tissue). Applying ‘force’ in a ‘loaded stretch’ position has been shown to develop muscle in 3 specific ways – different to typical compound/isolation concentric contraction-based gym environment. 

The traditional approach to gym-based muscle concentric training stimulates an anabolic process whereby testosterone, human growth hormone (predominantly in this form of training) increase hypertrophy (fibres grow) of muscle in a parallel fashion – meaning the cross width of the muscle gets bigger.

When trained and loaded in the outer/longer positions the anabolic hormone secretion profile is different (IGF-1 and MGF are predominant hormones here) and these stimulate a different hypertrophic effect whereby muscles are laid down in series (longitudinal/lengthways) – not better or worse than concentric training, just different and ultimately, you’d want BOTH if aesthetics is high on your list of priorities.

Training ‘long-under-loading’ also seems to create a hyperplasia phenomenon in muscle (whereby fibres split, divide and multiply in number) which is a revolutionary find, and a double benefit to those who seek to be bigger and stronger.

Lastly, hypertrophy here also is favourable in the sense that the overall fluid content within the muscle ‘swells’ often referred to as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Heart Health

2 – Improved heart health and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease – employing active stretching has been proven (by Dr Robert Schleip) to increase arterial elasticity and thus improve circulation and decrease blood pressure. Arterial stiffness is the biggest contributor to heart disease and regular aerobic and resistance training do very little (compared to sustained active mobility) to combat this physiological ailment that plagues our western society. Smooth muscle, like that of the arteries in/around the heart love to be stretched and loaded to increase the length-tension abilities of the collagen bonds that form their genetic make-up.

Mental Health 

3 – Uplifts mood, Mental state, Cognitive function and Self-confidence - engaging in new and novel exercise has been shown to increase two hormones that benefit cognitive and mental health. BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) and VEGF (Vascular Eplitheliel Growth Factor) spark neurogenesis (growth of new cells) and synaptogenesis (formation of transmission signalling) in the neural net – which leads to improved cognitive function, with decision making, concentration, task tackling skills all boosted. Furthermore, doing something ‘different’ that ‘feels good’ (as in training with the Sticks) secretes endocannabinoids – the most abundant happy hormone in the body that ladders up to feelings of self-confidence, euphoria and the good ol’ exercise ‘high’. That’s HUGE in a world where mental health has been a big issue in our health and fitness world of late. 

Connect the Dots 

4 – Connective Tissue Strength and Resilience – another tick in the box for adding the utilization of training with the Sticks into your repertoire is that of bolstering connective tissue strength. Connective tissue in the body is your fascia, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and 80% of nerve endings in your body. In traditional training, through linear load patterns we neglect the above tissue in favour of biasing solely the muscle-nerve elements of our body. This allows us to get big, strong, and look great – but in authentic human movement it’s theses other tissues that have a larger responsibility to move, and protect us, in the game of life and sport.

To train these tissues, we must employ a variety of beginning positions in training (standing, kneeling, prone lying, seated, supine lying and side lying – there are these 6 only in human function – and we must input training these positions and movements that we engage in with the Training Sticks in a variety of different directions/vectors. For these tissues are reliant upon omni-directional motion to maintain their tensile strength (to be robust to enjoy and perform well in life, for its these tissues that are prone to injury -it’s NEVER the muscles. 

So, engage with the Sticks with variations in beginning positions, include differing levels of ‘tension’ during these active movements and execute each movement fortifying strength in ALL 3 planes of motion – for this is the key to moving well and being resilient against injury.

Beyond Skin Deep

5 – Youthful Appearance – younger looking skin – with the benefit of number 4 above, the skin is part of this connective tissue system. For it is comprised of collagen, elastin and water the same as all tissues mentioned above. When you ‘load’ it and ‘stretch’ it – cells are signalled in tension whereby (if you do this often with enough time/intensity) collagen is laid down in the spaces that the tension is being applied. This collagen production if loaded and trained with variety helps ‘fill the spaces’ with strong, elastic, hydrated collagen – the spaces in the skin are what you know as ‘wrinkles’ – so rather than reach for the collagen creams, build your collagen from the inside with purposeful and intelligent motion.

Life Well Played

6 – Variety, Fun and Accessible – To use the Training Sticks is liberating, playful and novel. It really is a different experience in many ways; however, you use them. Whether its training, warming-up, games, partner drills, classes, 1-1 sessions – there is something amazing to be gained for everyone. Once you’ve got your hands on them, utilizing the principles behind the product – you are sold, and it will become a significant part of your health and fitness strategies for ever more. Enjoy.

By Paul Edmondson
Stick Mobility Master Instructor