Naughty Knots, And What To Do About Them

Aww! Everyone's favorite warm-up, the one minute drill.

Trigger points exist in our muscles throughout our entire body. They form as a local contraction in a small number of muscle fibers of a large muscle. Think of your muscle fibers as a bundle of dried spaghetti noodles. The spaghetti, just like our muscle fibers can naturally move and glide amongst each other with ease. When a trigger point forms, parts of the large bundle no longer glide but become stiff and more rope-like. A vast number of sports injuries of all types may arise because of the development of a trigger point. The trigger point is most commonly the first sign of overload to the muscle, and from then on, cause and effect begin to domino: one tissue breaks down, causing another to be overloaded and then break down, and so on. Trigger points lead to inflammation, then pain, then weakness, then joint and nerve dysfunction, and finally structural breakdown of tissues. This then leads to a severe sports injury that can keep you out of action for weeks, months or even years, depending on how long you attempt to struggle on without treating the original trigger point.

At the start of every class we go through a dynamic warm-up to increase blood flow to our muscles and warm up our nervous system. While the dynamic stretching we do is very important and should never be left out, it alone will not help with the trigger points. You can stretch all day long but the only tissue that will benefit is the healthy tissue while the knot remains.

The best way to tackle a pesky muscle knot is direct pressure. Having a well trained massage therapist (here’s a plug for our in-house massage therapist Marcus) break up the tissue for you is the most effective treatment. But paying for a massage is not always feasible for everyone. The foam roller is the poor man’s version of the professional massage. While they may seem to make for a great post WOD lounge chair, they are far better off being used to help restore the health of your muscles.
Learn to love your foam roller. You’ll never have to worry about making an appointment. You’ll never have to disrobe before you use one (unless you’re in to that, but if this is the case then please work on your knots at home.) And last but not least, you will never have to worry about a tip. The foam roller is always just happy to be of service.
Clean-&-Jerk—x 9, 7, 5
Muscle-Up——x 9, 7, 5
Suggested “Rx’s”
Games Level Athletes: M=165, W=125
Advanced Athlete M=135, W=95
Intermediate Athletes: M=115, W=80
Beginning Athletes: M=75-95, W=45-65