Targeting specific "myofascial lines"
I am in the process of finishing up the book Anatomy Trains, written by Tom Myers. The book explains everything you need to know about fascia within the body. It gives you a "non-traditional" view of how the body is interconnected and how the fascia aids in movement dynamics. The myofascial lines depicted in Anatomy Trains give us a clearer picture of how the fascia mitigates stress and force through the body. It explains a "global" view of movement rather than a "reductionist view" of movement that has been traditionally taught by anatomists. Meyers has identified several "myofacial lines" within the body. Each "line" has a particular mobility or stability function within the body.
Most of us use some sort of soft tissue work with our athletes in our programs. The change that we are making is to the fascia surrounding and within the muscle itself, not necessarily the muscle. This book can help you think about how the changes you may be making in one area can be helping other areas on the same myofacsial line (or those closely associated).
I am experimenting with using soft tissue work as a system based approach, in which I identify which myofascial tract needs attention and address everything up and down the chain, rather than arbitrarily roll out quads, hamstrings , calves, etc. I'm hoping this will lead to a more targeted approach to enhancing movement and tissue quality. Whether this approach will be more beneficial is yet to be determined. Either way it may be an organized way to view and target the fascia that may be causing specific mobility/stability problems with our athletes.
Here is a great video about fascia from the man himself....enjoy!