The last chapter explained that to have optimal posture, you must free your postural muscles from partial contraction. This chapter emphasizes that to do this, you must search your body for these segments of dormant muscle and push them through their full range of motion. These full, firm contractions should be held long enough to push the muscle to fatigue. As soon as fatigue is reached, it should be followed by full relaxation. This chapter will describe how to use this new technique that I call “anti-rigidity” therapy to reinstate motion diversity in your life. I created this technique by experimenting on myself and developed it further while using it with my clients. It will work for you, but only if you are breathing diaphragmatically.
Using Dormant Muscles Wakens Them from Dormancy
The lives of our nomadic hunter-gatherer ancestors featured endless variation in movement. They spent their time foraging, hunting, scouting, ranging, and setting up and breaking down camps. They dug for vegetables, picked fruit, made weapons, cleaned animal hides, prepared food, and carried wood, water, and children. On the other hand, the modern human habitat is one of urban dwelling, sedentary technology use, and cultures of convenience. Most people go months without extending their muscles beyond the requirements for mere walking. Compared to our ancestors, the geometric diversity of our daily motions is impoverished.
We are essentially animals in captivity, imprisoned by the incredibly low variation of our movement patterns. By moving in the same limited ways, we deny our bodies the nutritious movement they are starving for. We self-limit our ranges of motion because of bracing, postural inattention, intimidation, sitting, restraining working positions, laziness, surgery, injury, and load-bearing (including things like pregnancy, heavy backpacks, breast augmentation, and obesity). The tension from these activities results in shortened, hypertonic, dormant muscle.
Medical experts have documented that dormant segments of the spine exhibit many of the same physiological properties as cadaver spine. They get so little blood that they might as well be zombie flesh. Because their oxygen and nutrient supply has been strangled off, these beef jerky-like muscles in your back hurt. Pushing them into contraction outside of their customarily restricted range causes pain. Accidentally forcing them into rapid full contraction (e.g., during a fall) can be excruciating. This pain, and fear of it, can influence us to avoid using dormant muscle entirely.
We engineer the use of dormant muscles out of our lives and find ways to get around having to use them, which leads to a poorly balanced and ungainly physique. This compensation leads us to use other muscles that are biomechanically less efficient at completing the task. Then these muscles also take on strain. To correct this problem, we must reteach ourselves to use the dormant, partially contracted muscle by flexing through the untapped phases of its contractile range.
Anti-rigidity Training: The “Aching/Cracking Method”
The anti-rigidity technique involves finding the most dormant parts of the body and subjecting them to a full-range stretch and full-range contraction. The first step is to find a dormant joint. To do this, you must search for two sensations that are usually found together: 1) cracking or popping of the joint, and 2) sore, achy muscle. You should notice that as you bring a joint into the range where it cracks, it will feel sore if held in that position. These areas feel brittle because they are frail from disuse. Once you have found a position like this, you want to gently contract the muscles involved while engaging in paced breathing.
At first, it feels unnatural to hold a posture that cracks for a prolonged period. Your impulse will be to achieve the crack and allow the muscles to relax immediately thereafter. Avoid this inclination. Whether the joint cracks is not important. What is important is that you take your time stretching and flexing into the joint configurations susceptible to cracking. Cracking provides temporary relief from joint pain through the release of endorphins but does not heal tension. You want permanent relief that is provided only by strengthening the joint and the muscles surrounding it.
- Find a contraction or active stretch that feels stiff and achy when held. This often involves an unfamiliar position or posture and leads to cracking at the joint. The point where this configuration cracks is the most in need of rehab. Engage, stabilize, and hold the position until it fatigues. This usually takes between five and 30 seconds.
- Hold the general parameters of the posture while varying others. Move the joint dynamically, utilizing its range of motion in every possible vector, flexing into the ones that seem the stiffest or sorest. If you can continually reposition, you can approach the problem from different angles. Anti-rigidity can be done with concentric contractions (in which the muscle shortens), eccentric contractions (in which the muscle lengthens), or isometric contractions (in which the muscle does not change length).
- Allow the area at least 15 seconds of complete rest before you try again. Use this respite to recognize what the muscle feels like when it is completely resting.
- Stimulate dormant muscles throughout the body in this way while breathing correctly. As long as you are breathing diaphragmatically, you should feel the ache diminish in a matter of seconds. At first, the ache may be so intense that it makes paced breathing difficult. In that case, just ensure that you are taking long, passive exhalations. You can facilitate this by taking deep inhalations through the mouth and then puckering your lips and blowing out for as long as possible to reinforce the relaxation response.
- After your anti-rigidity training session, it is essential to allow these muscles to relax completely, so lie down (employing the corpse pose, body scan, or progressive muscle relaxation from Chapter 5) and let the contractions subside.
Start by targeting raw and achy areas in your shoulders, neck, back, and hips. This achiness is the deep somatic pain and myalgia that we discussed in Chapter 5. Search for this discomfort within your unexplored end ranges of motion. It helps to position yourself in ways that are out of the ordinary. Wiggle and writhe in these positions as you hunt for tissue to restore. Gently jostle the muscles to get them moving. Start with what you can find and then spend the most time in the configurations you would like to heal. You are hunting for that crick in the neck, tweak in the shoulder, and twinge in the lower back. By the time you have used anti-rigidity to dispel all the achiness from your body, your posture will be statuesque.
Illustration 14.1: Anti-rigidity for the shoulders.
Illustration 14.2: Anti-rigidity for the neck.
As you work through these tender areas, integral sections of your body will start to open up. You might ask yourself: “Is this whole region going to become unlocked and available to me?” Yes, it will. If you keep practicing, eventually it will all come unglued. Below are illustrations of some anti-rigidity poses that will help you to expose and recondition frailty. As you practice these, you will inevitably come up with poses of your own that are better suited for your particular strain pattern.
Illustration 14.3: Various anti-rigidity positions and techniques.
At first, anti-rigidity work feels unnatural, but after a while, your muscles will thirst for it, and you will find yourself doing it without realizing it. Relish the alleviation of the ache. Bask in the sensation of sending fresh blood through dormant tissue. Memorize the sensorial signature of tensity. It feels a little like the gnawing burn that accompanies lactic acid buildup. It is also similar to the soreness you feel when massaged. Anti-rigidity will help you locate the best candidates for compression and percussion. If, for example, you used anti-rigidity to identify the precise location of tightness to the right of your lower cervical spine, you should then try to compress it. Using massage to release muscles after anti-rigidity training will allow them to fully relax so they can heal.
After anti-rigidity, the muscle you treated will have increased blood flow for several hours. This means that any other activity or exercise you perform during this time will recruit that muscle and condition it to be more easily recruited in the future. However, within just a few hours of disuse, the muscles will stagnate again. The more frequently you refresh dormant muscles with anti-rigidity, the faster they will come out of dormancy. I recommend using it before and after long periods of sitting, upon waking, before bed, and after your usual exercise routine.
Using anti-rigidity, you teach your brain to control muscle that it has come to ignore through learned disuse. You are actively relearning how to incorporate these neglected muscles into your daily routines and overall posture. This will develop your proprioceptive awareness (knowledge about where your muscles are in space) and kinesthetic awareness (ability to coordinate muscles cohesively) while enhancing neuromuscular coordination and agility. Anti-rigidity will also reduce the fidgeting and restlessness that painful dormant muscle causes. It might look strange to others, but don’t worry about that. Feel comfortable performing anti-rigidity training wherever you go, whether in front of friends or in public. I believe that anti-rigidity therapy is one of the most beneficial “somatic self-healing” techniques available.
How Anti-rigidity Works
Anti-rigidity causes mechanical deformations in muscle that result in cascades of beneficial biochemical processes. For instance, it is known that contracting dormant muscle compresses embedded arterioles and other blood vessels, causing their walls to relax and spread open (vasodilation). The walls open wide, drawing blood into the surrounding capillaries. This pulls oxygen into the area and allows the clearance of waste products built up from sustained contraction. Over time, it enhances the resilience and pliability of not just muscles but also tendons, ligaments, and fascia.
Some of your muscles get this perfusion and clearance every day, but the dormant ones are deprived of it. Even during a full-body workout, dormant muscles often receive only minimal contraction. Exercise only improves the distribution of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles used in that particular exercise. In other words, the benefits of exercise are not systemic. This is why pursuing varied movement is so important. Missing out on essential loads is like missing out on essential vitamins.
In physical rehabilitation and sports training, there is a popular principle called SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demand). This states that your muscles will gradually get better at the demands you place on it. If you contract seldom-used muscles, they will adapt, and with time be able to contract fully. The best way to take advantage of the SAID principle is to make small demands on the body and to gradually increase the intensity as the body adapts.
Anti-rigidity gently forces trigger points to contract causes them to unravel and burn out. This lengthens the muscle, quells muscle spasms, extinguishes ongoing inflammation, and unfurls myofascial restrictions. As you do this, you are weeding the trauma out of your spine, scaling down your chronic pain, and diminishing its emotional burden. By providing the muscle the exercise it has been deprived of, full contraction affords it the ability to rest and recover. In essence, by pushing muscles with minimal capability for endurance to full fatigue, anti-rigidity builds their endurance. Because much of your dormant muscle is postural, converting it into muscle capable of enduring body weight will resurrect your body’s foundation.
For clarity, the following table summarizes some of the important distinctions between anti-laxity and anti-rigidity. It is important to note that the two do overlap to an extent and that they also complement each other in practice.
Table 14.1: Comparing Anti-laxity with Anti-rigidity
Anti-rigidity Fills in Missing Corners
Dormant muscles are responsible for the “missing corners” in your range of motion. Because the muscle is stuck in partial contraction, it is incapable of moving pliantly. People of Eastern philosophical persuasions call these “energy blocks.” While prior chapters have examined the effect this has on the diaphragm, eyes, face, and vocal apparatus, this chapter focuses specifically on the spine, core, and postural muscles. There are numerous muscles throughout your spine that you only contract within 25 percent of their full range of motion. Find them and rescue them by pushing them toward 100.
As you rehab missing corners, you will expose other missing corners beneath them. There are hierarchies of missing corners to reestablish. When one spinal segment is curled up and inoperative, it undermines those nearby it, rendering them inaccessible. Correcting one provides leverage for correcting others. Using the anti-rigidity method regularly, you will continue to discover repositories of strength you never knew you had.
You may come to recognize that many of your most dormant muscles derive from previous injuries. Using anti-rigidity, I encountered many previous strains and sprains from adolescence and young adulthood that I had forgotten about. The process is like unearthing fossils. If you drive, then you probably have dormant muscle in your right ankle, knee, and hip from working the gas and the brake. Likewise, if you work on a computer, you probably have strain in your right shoulder that runs up your neck from bracing while holding the mouse. I had pronounced lumbar knots from decades of bending over the sink to wash my face and brush my teeth. The problem was, I did those things from a single fixed position without contracting my glutes. Anti-rigidity treated all of these.
Do you ever bend over and reach a point where you know that you will hurt yourself if you continue? This is a corner that is completely missing. Most people have countless postural configurations like this that cannot be loaded at all. Many muscles in the hips and lower back can barely withstand a small fraction of body weight. You want to load these frail muscles very lightly at first, increasing the load over time. To load the muscles with less than body weight, you must lessen the effects of gravity by placing your body into unfamiliar yet supported positions like those illustrated above. The techniques used in Pilates and the poses used in yoga can also be used to this end.
Using Anti-rigidity with Distressed Breathing Is Counterproductive
Performing anti-rigidity will make you want to breathe shallowly. One of the main reasons that dormant muscle stays dormant is because every time you try to use it, it takes your breath away. Pairing distressed breathing with anti-rigidity defeats the purpose. In fact, shallow breathing is enough to turn anti-rigidity work into injurious tension building. When I first started developing the anti-rigidity technique, many friends saw me stretching restlessly and told me, “You know, you look to me like you are just making the tension worse.” They felt this way because doing the same exercises would irritate their muscles. Contracting dormant muscle is something that our bodies naturally tend to avoid because, under distressed breathing, the muscle will only become further agitated. Diaphragmatic breathing makes all the difference.
Be mindful that you are breathing diaphragmatically, at no more than six breaths per minute, or else anti-rigidity will lead to more tension. It is imperative that you breathe long, full, smooth breaths, preferably through the nose. Employ a breath metronome when possible. Consider performing anti-rigidity after a diaphragmatic breathing session. You will find that five minutes of breathing along with a breath metronome will make you more limber and make it easier to identify achy muscles. After 20 minutes of paced breathing, anti-rigidity will feel like picking low-hanging fruit.
Anti-rigidity is also accentuated after exercise, massage, or the application of heat. It is far easier to sense and contract dormant muscle after a workout or rubdown. The same goes for a hot shower or bath. This is the rationale behind the practice of “hot” yoga. To experience this, take a shower that is as hot as possible without being uncomfortable. You might want to rub moistened Epsom salt into your neck and shoulders beforehand. Let the heated water hit the back of your neck and stream down your spine. You will notice that your neck cracks more easily, is more flexible, and you can more fully contract the muscles for upwards of 10 minutes.
Rushing Anti-rigidity is Counterproductive
As you get better at performing anti-rigidity, you will become more ambitious and attempt to rejuvenate the stiffest areas in your neck and lower back. By moving slowly and carefully, you can work through these boundaries. However, if you try to force through them, the tissues will become more defensive, not less. Dormant tissues require a gentle approach. Pretend that you are trying to slowly lengthen a piece of a plastic bag without tearing it. At a certain point, you should feel a slight resistance to your movement. Some physical therapists refer to this as a “stretch point.” As you hold the position, wait patiently. When the aching sensation fades, your stretch point is releasing.
Bouncing through a stretch can be counterproductive unless it is a very subtle bounce. This is because hard bounces pull quickly on muscle fibers, alerting specialized sensors within the muscle that it has been suddenly overstretched. Nerve signals from these receptors will cause the muscle to shorten further, which is exactly what you don’t want. Make your contractions gradual and slow, using only 10-40 percent of your maximum effort. Think of melting into each stretch. If you contract too rapidly or forcefully, you will engage fast-twitch muscle fibers. Contracting slowly will enlist the slow twitch endurance fibers that establish enduring postural tone.
I sought out the most painful and weak cruxes in my body and totally reclaimed them. However, I knew there was a chance that I could herniate a disc or sprain a vital ligament. This is why you must perform anti-rigidity very carefully, especially when starting out. Working through your most frail areas can lead to great injury. However, once restored, they will become highly resistant to injury. Choose consistency over intensity. Avoid movements that prove to aggravate and pursue those that heal. Chip away at your frailty a little each day to make every bit of your body’s muscle accessible.
It is necessary to mention that anti-rigidity is not contortionism. You are not attempting to force your body into strange and awkward positions. Also, do not mistake the ache of dormant muscle with the pain of pushing a joint outside its intended range. With time, you will learn to recognize the exact difference between engaging frailty and intruding into the body’s natural joint barriers.
You should never hurt, or even be sore, the next day after using anti-rigidity. If you are, you either went too hard or have a serious underlying injury. If you experience a tight pinching or burning sensation, there could be nerve damage. In that case, discontinue immediately. If you have a related disease or disorder, discuss anti-rigidity with a physician before using it. Carefully monitor your pain pattern. If existing pain becomes worse from these activities, discontinue immediately and seek advice from a qualified physician.
Normal cracking is fine, but grating, popping, and crackling sounds indicate a musculoskeletal injury. Do not attempt anti-rigidity if you experience sensations of pins and needles or numbness. Do not attempt if you have been in a recent accident or experience severe headaches. If the pain spreads or radiates to other locations, stop the exercises immediately and consult your doctor. Know your limits and do not overdo it.
Anti-rigidity’s Relation to Chiropractic
I have visited five different chiropractors in my life for a total of around 10 appointments. These visits in my late twenties helped inspire me to develop the anti-rigidity method. I recommend visiting a chiropractor yourself so that you can become acquainted with what it feels like to have the body in a configuration where highly dormant muscle is directly engaged and released.
The first time I went to a chiropractor, he commented on how tight my neck was. He was able to crack my spine in several locations. This influenced me to go home and flex into the same spinal configurations he created when performing the adjustments. For instance, I would try to fully extend my neck, looking toward the ceiling, while rotating my head from left to right. It ached deeply, and I wondered if working through this aching could improve my neck. It did.
Only two years later, the same chiropractor told me that he was unable to adjust my spine at all. When he tried to perform spinal manipulations, my joints moved with the manipulation fluidly without cracking. In fact, I can no longer find a chiropractor who can successfully crack my neck or lower back. After feeling the muscles on the back of my neck with their fingers, some told me that my neck is healthy and does not need to be adjusted. This is entirely due to the anti-rigidity method.
Joint cracking is a sign of degenerative activity stemming from passive tension. When the muscles surrounding the spine are held in passive tension, this causes dislocation (subluxation) of vertebrae. These weak, distorted muscle segments are incapable of keeping the vertebrae in ideal alignment. The advantage of the chiropractic adjustment is that it gets straight to the core of dormant muscle, stretching it rapidly and delivering blood. It is common for a patient to report that they can “breathe again” after manipulation. To me this suggests that vertebral misalignment somehow affects the diaphragm’s mobility. The cracking also produces endogenous morphine, temporarily relieving pain and bringing patients back for future adjustments. However, chiropractic treatment is only a temporary solution. When a chiropractor performs an alignment, the spine briefly becomes neutral. However, because this does not strengthen the muscles or improve their endurance, the vertebrae fall quickly back out of alignment, sometimes within hours.
Most chiropractors do not insist that their patients exercise the “opened” areas after adjustments. This is why there is limited evidence for the clinical efficacy of chiropractic over physical therapy. However, I have found that anti-rigidity exercises complement both chiropractic and physical therapy. It may take months or years of anti-rigidity training to fully contract a previously dormant muscle, but once you can, it will be fully reintegrated and will no longer require chiropractic or rehabilitative work.
After six months of using anti-rigidity, I could crack dozens of joints throughout my body at will. Because I knew my posture and physique had improved tremendously, I began to tentatively conclude that increasing the ability to crack joints might be the overall goal. However, after another six months of this routine, I found that much of the cracking subsided. As my joints became healthier, they cracked less and less. This made me realize that cracking is a means to an end. In other words, as you employ anti-rigidity, you can expect to go through three phases: 1) an inability to crack, 2) plentiful cracking, and then 3) an abatement of cracking.
I could not crack my joints at first because I did not have the strength in the surrounding muscles to leverage my way into the unhealthy muscle. After six months, my joints were cracking profusely because I finally had some strength in the muscles that would support my efforts to flex into the weakest areas. After another six months of employing the technique, the cracking subsided because even my weakest muscles and joints were no longer degenerative. The point is that you want to stretch and flex into sore joints throughout your body, using the cracking and aching sensations as diagnostic tools.
Anti-rigidity Is Not the Same as Stretching
Stretching has gotten a bad rap in recent decades because static stretching has been shown to be less effective for athletes than once thought. This is because static stretching on its own is too passive and does not involve muscular contractions. It involves immobilizing a joint and stretching the muscles and connective tissues to their greatest possible length. This increases the resting length of muscles by lessening the sensitivity of tension receptors in the muscle. Studies have shown that excessive static stretching can lead to joint laxity and hypermobility. Stretching muscles too far reduces strength and explosive force. Many stretching programs encourage hyper-flexibility of muscles, which can even result in mechanical instability of the joints. Anti-rigidity doesn’t use static stretching, it uses active stretching.
Static stretching increases “passive range of motion.” With anti-rigidity, however, we are interested in increasing “active range of motion.” Unlike passive, static stretching, you want to perform stretches that accept load throughout the entire range. The stretching aspect of anti-rigidity will increase the joint’s mobility and restore proper length to the muscles involved. The contraction aspect will increase the stability of the joint and increase the strength of the muscles. Overall, anti-rigidity should be thought of as a combination of stretching and contracting in which you explore the boundaries of tension while applying low-grade but continuous tensile loads. Yoga, done with active loading, can accomplish anti-rigidity as well.
Employing Anti-rigidity During Yoga
Anti-rigidity methods are implicit in yoga, but there are ways to make them more explicit. When I take a yoga class, I assume the poses as directed and then perform anti-rigidity while inside the pose. For instance, most yoga instructors tell you to keep your neck straight and still while in downward dog because they don’t want distressed breathers to hurt their necks. But you and I can safely assume downward dog and use the unique loading properties of the pose to find and strengthen frail joints. From downward dog, it is possible to leverage your way into countless stiff neck positions that are treatable through anti-rigidity. Yoga teachers refer to achy, dormant muscle as “sticky” while practitioners often describe stretches that rouse dormant muscle as “delicious.” Use yoga to help you probe for and discover delectable contractions.
In many types of hatha yoga, there is a risk of overstretching certain muscle groups during a pose. Many yoga instructors and practitioners abuse their bodies by pushing too hard in an attempt to achieve an “ideal” form. The best way to improve form is not to force the body into a static stretch but rather to use the pose to gradually rehab the dormant muscle that is keeping you from executing the pose ideally. Ease yourself into the postures and vary your weight while in them so they are not static and isolated. To do this, you want to lean in different directions, play with the articulations, shift your weight, and alter the pose’s geometry to achieve various well-rounded contractions. Remembering to use the five tenets of optimal posture from the last chapter during yoga will enhance postural strengthening.
I recommend that anyone interested in yoga start with basic, Iyengar, or restorative yoga to develop proper form and an appropriate emotional relationship with their body. After a few of these lessons, I encourage trying as many types of yoga as possible until you find one that you truly enjoy. You can take classes in a studio or at home using a free internet video. Yoga has shown numerous clinical benefits such as improving emotional regulation and reducing physiological arousal. It has even been shown to assist significantly in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.1 I believe every person should perform yoga with anti-rigidity on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
The following sketches should help you if you want to practice at home. I strongly recommend moving through the classic yoga poses here as often as possible. Choose at least 10 each night and spend one to two minutes in each while engaging in paced breathing. Another great option is to put something educational on television, then sit a phone or a tablet down next to the TV, using it (on silent) to stream an online yoga class. I do this for twenty minutes every night and learn something while I stretch. An added benefit of performing anti-rigidity and yoga before bed is that it will help you sleep like a baby due to the copious endorphins released.
Illustration 14.4: 81 yoga poses and positions.
Health Benefits of Yoga
- Makes muscles, ligaments, and tendons more elastic and resilient
- Stimulates stem cells creating collagen
- Improves fitness, flexibility, and strength
- Reduces pain and improves mobility better than other forms of low impact exercise
- Can reduce blood pressure and risk factors for cardiovascular disease
- Seems to improve symptoms related to depression, PTSD, and anxiety
When I was 25, I went to a nearby court to play basketball. The moves and skills that I developed in my late teens had disintegrated. I felt incredibly clumsy and feeble on the court. I wanted to know why. Because I had not played basketball in years, I assumed that I had lost the memories and neural connections responsible for my skills. I was researching the neuroscience of Alzheimer’s at the time, and that influenced me to assume that because I hadn’t used those brain pathways, I may have lost them.
However, at age 35, I went out to play basketball again, only to discover that the skills and coordination of my teenage years were back. My poor performance 10 years prior had nothing to do with losing brain circuits and everything to do with frailty. Now, instead of feeling like a dry twig running down the court, I feel like a velociraptor. My body supports me fully in any position I put it in. It is the same with dancing. People don’t stop dancing in old age because they forget how. They stop because their joints are immobile and their unnecessarily feeble bodies hurt. Anti-rigidity is like an analgesic but a permanent one. As many yogis insist: “You are only as old as your spine.” Another way to put this is: “You are only as old as your spine is frail and painful.”
In my 20s, if I got less than four hours of sleep, my back would hurt all day. However, a couple of years of anti-rigidity has made it so that even if I miss an entire night of sleep, I feel no joint discomfort because my spine still supports me. I can stand up straight for long periods while everyone else succumbs to slouching. I can sit cross-legged on the floor for hours while others languish on the couch. The postural reinforcements that anti-rigidity created sometimes make me feel like I am in some kind of supportive harness or mechanical exosuit. Anti-rigidity makes it effortless to hold your body assertively, proudly, and energetically.
The strength gains from anti-rigidity come with muscle mass gains. They don’t make you look like a weightlifter, but because they involve postural musculature, they help you look more like an athlete. As the next chapter will detail, anti-rigidity works complementarily with cardio and weight training. You will find that anti-rigidity will not only counteract the tension created by your exercise routine but also that you can employ anti-rigidity during exercise as well.
Chapter Fourteen: Bullet Points
- The anti-rigidity technique is performed by searching for dormant muscles whose joints crack or ache, then rehabbing them. To reach these dormant muscles, the body must be placed into unfamiliar positions.
- Rehab is achieved by finding a postural configuration that cracks and then holding it for five to 30 seconds at a time. It feels like a stretch but is a contraction that you want to hold until the muscles involved reach fatigue.
- It is well known in exercise science that firmly contracting a muscle before relaxing it brings it to a deeper level of relaxation.
- Usually, contracting dormant tender muscles makes us breathe shallowly as if we were being submerged in cold water. The key to anti-rigidity is to pair the contraction of dormant muscle with diaphragmatic breathing.
- Anti-rigidity reduces the internal impedance within the contractile tissue, resetting the muscle to its biomechanically optimal orientation. If you want peak performance, you need anti-rigidity.
- Anti-rigidity releases foundational postural muscles from strain. Some of these muscles may have been lying dormant for decades. This results in the reintegration of dormant muscle with active muscle restoring strength, endurance, flexibility, stability, and ideal posture.
- Anti-rigidity will get your muscles firing again, tone and balance your body, reduce fatigue and soreness, and counteract the poor loading profiles of the modern lifestyle.
- For a muscle to be healthy, it needs times during the day when it is pulled to full resting length and other times when it is contracted to its smallest dimension. Use anti-rigidity daily to achieve this.
- Experiment and play with the muscles you have neglected for so long, and with time, you will experience an “incredible lightness of being.”
- Muscles are like springs that are bent out of shape. A muscle that has low tone and is not firing properly is like a spring whose coil has become stretched out. Such muscles require anti-laxity.
- A muscle stuck in partial contraction is like a spring that is not at its resting length (relaxed) or its shortest length (contracted) but stuck somewhere in the middle. Such muscles require anti-rigidity.
- Gallegos, A. M., Crean, H. F., Pigeon, W. R., & Heffner, K. L. (2017). Meditation and yoga for posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review, 58, 115–124; van der Kolk, B. A., Stone, L., West, J., Rhodes, A., Emerson, D., Suvak, M., & Spinazzola, J. (2014). Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 75(6), e599–565.