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Gettin' Pliable: The Athletes' Journal | Drew #2

The first thing you need to know about developing muscle pliability is this: it might hurt, but the benefits are game-changing.

I came into my initial session at the TB12™ Sports Therapy Center with absolutely no clue what pliability was. My Body Coach, Matt, started off the session by explaining the concept to me and describing what pliable muscles look like. He broke it down for me by explaining that pliability is all about creating soft, elongated muscle tissues that are well hydrated and more resistant to injury. I’m not usually a huge skeptic, but it just sounded a little ridiculous to me. All my life I had been taught the same method of stretching before and after exercise, and I had never questioned that norm.

 

See it to Believe It

It’s easy to get confused by the science and terminology behind it, but the results tell the full story. There’s no question that it works for Tom. I mean, he’s doing things on the football field at age 40 that he couldn’t do when he was 25. Thanks to the care he takes to ensure his muscles are pliable, he’s been able to succeed at an age when most other QBs are comfortably retired.

Super Bowl MVPs aren’t the only ones who can develop and benefit from pliability, though. This concept can work for everybody, whether you’re a high school athlete, a 30-year-old runner, or just somebody trying to stay healthy.

 

My Routine

I’ve developed a great routine for maintaining my muscle pliability that I want to share with you guys. Obviously, there may be elements of this that don’t work for everyone, and that’s fine. I encourage you all to try to develop a pliability routine that works for you based on the TB12 Method if you seriously want to work on your performance.

It all starts with hydration. I have to drink at least 110 ounces of water or more every day. Sounds easy, right?

 

Hydration

I made a quick jump from under-hydrated to full-blown water addict, thanks in part to the use of the TB12 Electrolyte bottle I was given during my first session. At first, I had to really push myself to drink more water throughout the day. Before I found the TB12 Method, I had never given much thought to my hydration beyond just drinking a water bottle or two during practices and workouts. I now find myself casually drinking two bottles of water during class and four or five during workouts. It was a pretty painless lifestyle adjustment to make, but also one that has allowed me to continue to improve my pliability outside of the treatment I receive from TB12.

 

Body Work

The real key to pliability is manual tissue work. I go through this body work with Matt before and after every workout I do at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. Think of this muscle work like an active massage — instead of lying motionless while my Body Coach applies pressure to my muscles, I go through a series of movements designed to expand and contract different muscles while they are worked on. As relaxing as that may sound, trust me, it’s definitely not what you’d expect. I’d love to sit here and tell you that body work is easy and feels great, but I’d be lying.

I could barely sit still the first time I went through body work. I was a mess. My muscles were so tight and dehydrated that it felt more like a torture technique than a exercise. Over time, though, I really started to see the impact other aspects of my training had on how my muscles felt during these sessions. The pain became a little easier to bear every time I went in for a session, as my muscles became more pliable and more responsive to the treatment. I also noticed a nice improvement in my pain level during body work the more I used the TB12 Electrolytes and kept myself hydrated leading up to my sessions.

 

Positive Trauma

The concept behind the body work is called “positive trauma,” which nicely explains how it feels. I don’t want to give you guys the wrong idea about pliability, so I’ve got a little exercise for you to try so you can get some insight into what body work feels like. Start by sitting down. Take your right elbow and push it down somewhere into the upper part of the top of your right thigh. If you push with enough force, you’ll feel a very concentrated, deep-tissue pain in the muscles in your upper leg area. Now imagine a Body Coach digging their elbow into your thigh (much deeper than you did to yourself, too) and quickly running their elbow up and down across the length of your upper leg while maintaining that same pressure. The thigh is usually one of the easier muscle groups to get through, too. Picture that same process, only on a more sensitive area like your rotator cuff or your hip flexors, and you can expect a lot more pain.

 

At-Home Pliability

You can’t just rely on hydration and occasional body work to develop muscle pliability. I’m usually only at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center for manual body work a few times a month, and that’s not enough regularity to see great results. The real key for me has been doing the exercises every day on my own. I noticed right away that the more time and effort I put into at-home pliability, the less painful the body work sessions became. Even after I started going to the TB12 Sports Therapy Center a few times a month, I’d wake up the day after a game or practice with stiff ankles, tight quads, and irritating soreness in my lower back that I just couldn’t shake. The occasional body work sessions helped temporarily alleviate the soreness, but it wasn’t until I started to regularly work on my pliability at home that I started to wake up without the soreness I had become so used to.

I started by getting the TB12 Vibrating Foam Roller and Vibrating Sphere on the recommendation of my Body Coach. I use them both to go through pliability exercises that simulate similar responses to manual body work at TB12. I use the roller primarily for my legs and forearms, and the Vibrating Sphere is great for hitting small areas in my shoulders and back that get sore or tender after practices and games. The TB12 Method mobile app has a great selection of exercises you can use to create an at-home regimen tailored to the muscle groups you want to focus on to improve your overall performance.

Muscle pliability used to be something that only clients of the TB12 Sports Therapy Center could work towards. Thanks to the app, now those who can’t regularly work one-on-one with a Body Coach in Foxboro can still work on their pliability. Don’t get me wrong, TB12’s Body Coaches are great. It’s just awesome to see how the app has opened up pliability to so many more people.

 

Real Progress

Trust me, if you put the time in and do the pliability exercises every day, you’ll really start to see the positive impact it has on your body. It’s crazy to think about how much progress I’ve made physically over the last year since I’ve taken care of my body and worked to develop muscle pliability. Between the app and at-home TB12 pliability devices, you’ve got everything you need begin to develop soft and pliable muscles. If you want the same kind of results and improvement as me, Tom Brady, and thousands of other TB12 clients, do yourself a favor and try it out.

Start by focusing on hydration. Increase your daily water intake to half of your body weight in ounces and try out the TB12 Electrolytes. That will help to hydrate your muscles and provide you with a solid foundation for making those muscles softer and more injury-resistant. Then set aside about 20 minutes a day for the pliability exercises. I know how hard it can be to find chunks of time like that in a busy schedule, but I can tell you from my own experience that it will absolutely be worth it. Just take it day-by-day, put the work in, and you’ll start to feel the difference.

The road to your sustained peak performance starts right here!

 

The Athletes’ Journal will provide you with a first-person narrative on the TB12 Method, covering pliability exercises, workouts, hydration, nutrition, cognitive exercises, and rest. Our first TB12 Athlete, Drew, has been training at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center and living the Method for over a year as he pursues his goal of playing Olympic Team Handball. This is his second Athletes' Journal, be on the lookout for more!

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