How Fascia and Muscles Work Together

The interplay between fascia and muscles is essential for various aspects of human physiology. Here, we will focus on two major areas: movement coordination and shock absorption.

A. Movement Coordination

The coordination of movement is a complex process that requires the integrated function of the nervous system, muscles, and fascia. The fascia acts as a unifying structure that interconnects all the muscles in the body, creating a continuous network from head to toe (Myers, 2014).

The fascial network transmits the force generated by muscle contraction across the body. When a muscle contracts, it shortens and pulls on the fascia surrounding it. This force is then transmitted along the fascia to other connected muscles, allowing them to share the load and work together. This sharing of force can occur in the same plane as the contracting muscle or be redirected to other planes, enabling three-dimensional movement (Schleip et al., 2012).

In his concept of myofascial chains or “Anatomy Trains,” Thomas Myers has proposed that muscles are not isolated units but rather part of larger, interconnected myofascial networks that coordinate to create movement (Myers, 2014). These chains can explain why a restriction or dysfunction in one area of the body can affect movement patterns elsewhere. For example, tightness in the fascia of the foot can alter gait and potentially lead to knee or back pain.

Further, the fascia plays a role in proprioception – the sense of the relative position of one’s own body parts and strength of effort employed in movement. Rich in sensory nerve endings, fascia is considered a major organ of perception. These receptors respond to changes in tension and position, providing constant feedback to the nervous system about the state of the body. This feedback allows for real-time adjustment of muscle tension and coordination, contributing to smooth, controlled movement (Findley & Schleip, 2009).

B. Shock Absorption

Another important function of the fascia-muscle interplay is in shock absorption. The body is subjected to various mechanical forces during movement, such as running or jumping, which can lead to injury if not properly managed. The fascial system contributes to managing these forces, thereby protecting the body from harm (Schleip et al., 2012).

The fascial tissue’s viscoelastic properties allow it to deform under load, acting as a shock absorber. When a force is applied, the fascia can stretch and distribute the load across a larger area, reducing the impact on any single point. After the load is removed, the fascia can return to its original shape due to its elastic properties. This function is crucial in activities such as running, where the impact of the foot hitting the ground can be several times the body’s weight (Myers, 2014).

Moreover, the fascia’s capacity to store and release energy aids in efficient movement. During a lengthening (eccentric) muscle contraction, the muscle and surrounding fascia store potential energy. This energy can then be released during a shortening (concentric) contraction, much like a loaded spring. This process, known as the stretch-shortening cycle, contributes to the body’s shock-absorbing capabilities and allows for more efficient movement (Schleip et al., 2012).

In conclusion, the interaction between muscles and fascia is crucial for movement coordination and shock absorption. The complex interplay between these two structures facilitates efficient, coordinated movement and protects the body from the potential damaging effects of mechanical forces.


  1. Findley, T., & Schleip, R. (2009). Fascia Research: Basic Science and Implications for Conventional and Complementary Health Care. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  2. Myers, T. W. (2014). Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  3. Schleip, R., Findley, T. W., Chaitow, L., & Huijing, P. (2012). Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body. Elsevier Health Sciences.