In fitness, muscles tend to get all the glory. Not surprising, considering we’re visual creatures, and besides, a well-defined hamstring tie-in looks darn good. But if you want to understand how to move more efficiently, prevent injuries and get stronger, you need to look beyond your glutes — and triceps and biceps and quads — and consider the admittedly less sexy, but equally important counterpart, the fascia.

Fascia 411

Fascia is often characterized as the connective tissue that encapsulates your muscles, but its actual function is far more complex.

“Fascia helps mitigate forces on certain parts of the body so there isn’t overuse of muscle tissue in one region and the degradation of tissue in another,” explains Chuck Wolf, MS, FAFS, director of Human Motion Associates in Orlando, Florida. In other words, fascia serves to distribute force throughout the body by reducing it in one area and absorbing it in another, thereby enhancing mobility and preventing injury.