WHAT IS BODY TEMPERING?
Body tempering (BT), a form of soft tissue mobilization developed by Donnie Thompson in 2014, is performed by placing heavily weighted cylinders across muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. As a result, this can help prepare the muscle for activity and improve muscle recovery. Think of it as foam rolling on steroids.
Now, I'm sure there are many that will read this and argue that foam rolling is a waste of time but there is quite a bit of research that supports the use of foam rolling to help create temporary improvement in mobility. Because of the fact that the results people see from foam rolling are temporary and don't create long-term chances, many will say that we should stop using this modality in our training. However, we can use these temporary changes to our advantage as a part of a bigger mobility plan.
DOES IT WORK?
I wouldn't be writing this if it didn't ;) . Just like foam rolling, scraping (aka Graston Technique, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or IASTM, etc.), BT does a great job of improving mobility. It has quickly become my favorite way of performing soft tissue mobilization, and my patients have loved it. Our patients that have tried BT will also tell you that foam rolling doesn’t even compare to the feeling of BT. When performed properly, body tempering is more intense than foam rolling without being more painful.
How do we accomplish more intensity without pain? By utilizing different loads based on the body part that we are working on so that the athlete feels significant pressure without being painful. From there, we simply temper that muscle, joint, or area for 1-2 minutes.
Because most BT devices are weighted (anywhere from 22 – 200 lbs.), you would think this would be painful, but the large surface area of the cylinders disperses the pressure across the muscle. Contrast this with other soft tissues modalities using smaller tools or a therapist hands that have a much smaller surface area and can lead to discomfort and pain.
The pec minor is a great example of a muscle where hands-on work is often a bit painful for patients. However, when we temper it for 30 seconds with a larger device our patients don’t report pain but we are able to quickly notice that the pec minor relaxes and the shoulders drop back.
For more information on how body tempering works, check out this article for a detailed description of the proposed mechanisms.
Here's the kicker...
The key to BT, though, is that just like any other passive mobility technique we want to follow it up with active movements to help “lock-in” the mobility changes we get. I like to say it's like hitting the save button.
For example, when working on thoracic spine mobility, I may use body tempering by laying a device across a patient's upper back on various areas for a few minutes. Then we will follow that up with something like a Z-press to strengthen the thoracic spine muscles as a follow up to the tempering.
Sounds awesome! How do I try it?
If body tempering is something you would like to try, we have many different affordable options for you. Choose from single sessions at 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minute sessions and if you buy five sessions you'll save even more!
Body Tempering. (2018, November 3). Body Tempering. BodyTempering.Com. https://bodytempering.com/body-tempering/
Coop. (2019, February 26). Rogue DT Tempering Roller Review: Body Tempering Device for the Masses. Garage Gym Reviews. https://www.garagegymreviews.com/rogue-dt-tempering-roller-review
Dunning, J. (2019, April 5). Body Tempering for Myofascial Pain & Performance Enhancement: Proposed Mechanisms. OSTEOPRACTIC. https://osteopractor.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/body-tempering-for-myofascial-pain-performance-enhancement-proposed-mechanisms/
Long, Z. (2020, April 28). An Intro to Body Tempering. The Barbell Physio. https://thebarbellphysio.com/an-intro-to-body-tempering/
M&F Editors. (2015, November 2). Body Tempering to Improve Physical Performance. Muscle & Fitness. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/body-tempering-improve-physical-performance/
Rogue. (2020, December 31). Rogue DT Tempering Roller. Rogue Fitness. https://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-dt-tempering-roller
Dr. Ladd's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.