When we repeat dysfunctional patterns over and over again, our bodies get used to staying within the dysfunction rather than changing. For example:  If i was to sit in a desk for 8 hours a day, I would probably end up with a slumped posture, as a result of protracting my shoulders and hunching over to reach the keyboard.  Within time, my body would memorize these patterns, tightening muscles throughout the body, until that bad posture was set as a new neuro-muscular pattern.  Poor Neuro-muscular patterns increase the chance for injury anytime you move, because they constrict your natural movement. Correction of these problems is not optional! If you expect to get any kind of sustainability within your movement/exercise regimen, I put alignment techniques at number 1.   Also, major muscle groups responsible for strength, explosiveness and agility become inhibited when muscular deficiency is present.  You can’t have safety without athleticism because they go hand in hand with each other.  I am a huge advocate of people fixing their own physical problems, all we need is the information mixed with a bit of discipline and we are good to go.  Here are a few strategies to you can utilize own your own:

Myofascial Release (massage)

A technique utilized to make muscle tissue that is bound up, unbind.  All muscles in the body are wrapped in a web called fascia. When dysfunctional movement patterns are created in muscles, the fascia will effectively develop knot like properties that will impede range of motion in the body.   After Myofascial release is implemented, muscle tissue becomes more pliable and will effectively become maliable once again to improve functional movement. Tools of choice:  1.) Lacrosse ball 2.) Medicine Ball 3.) Foam Roller 4.) Theracane 5.) Han Bo with rounded end.

Static Stretching

If practiced enough with the right strategy, static stretching can become a very useful tool in the re-alignment process.  The problem I see most with people utilizing static stretching, is stretching muscles that don’t need to be stretched.  For instance, most people who stretch their hamstrings all the time may not understand that the root foundation to their tight hamstrings has to deal with another set of muscle groups called, the hip flexors.  Your Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings are the primary muscles involved in hip extension (opposite to hip flexion).  The dominant of the two is the Gluteus Maximus.  If you happen to have the habit of sitting a few hours a day, there are these muscles on the front part of your pelvis that are going to become tight.  These muscles (hip flexors) constrict the movement of the Gluteus Maximus when they are tight, because they work in the opposite motion.  Once this happens, the Hamstrings have to take over and become overworked a tight.  So the origins of the Hamstring tightness never had to do with the Hamstrings at all.  Now if we wanted to correct this problem with the hamstrings, we could use several static stretches to open up the hip flexors.  This would allow the Gluteus Maximus to mobilize, and now the hamstrings wouldn’t have to overwork anymore.  If we can understand why we stretch the muscles we are stretching, static stretching can be an immensely useful tool in your arsenal.

Corrective Exercise

Corrective exercise deals with the rewiring of old, imbalanced muscular patterns and replacing them with more natural ones.  It is this aspect in the process that determines whether you are going to move correctly or incorrectly.  The importance of understanding the proper biomechanics of how to do this cannot be overemphasized.  If you don’t understand the concept of pelvic extension and you are trying to correct a lower back dysfunction, you might just make the problem even worse than what it was.  If done correctly, corrective exercise can work miracles.  If Static Stretching and Myofascial release are strategically implemented before to allow for better mobility, Corrective exercise can be optimally utilized.