R.O.S.S.: Release, Organize, Strengthen, and Stretch

Fluid’s signature R.O.S.S.™ method encourages mindful movement and injury prevention.

Click here to watch Anne and Heather discuss healthy movement and R.O.S.S.!

  • Releasing tight muscles warms soft tissue and facilitates your brain/body connection.
  • Organizing your small stabilizers creates support.
  • Strengthening large muscle groups boosts your metabolism, making your body stronger, and more efficient.
  • Stretching at the end of your session (not at the beginning) improves range of motion, reduces muscle soreness, and facilitates smooth, graceful, supple movement.

Release: Often when we’re injured or suffering from muscle tightness, we think, “Oh, I should stretch.” Yes, that’s true, you should stretch…after you’ve done release work, stabilization exercises, and strength work. Most of us now spend a large portion of our day sitting in front of a computer. This can lead to neck, shoulder, and hip tightness.

By starting with even a minute or two of release work you encourage these chronically tight muscles to relax and you train your body to work more efficiently.

Organize: Our next step is organization, or stabilization. Now we ask the small organization muscles to get on board. These muscles maximize efficiency by kicking in a millisecond before your large prime movers. For example, as you reach down to lift a heavy box, your pelvic floor and deep abdominals engage, then your legs, back, shoulders, and arms activate to lift the box.

Strengthen: Ok we released, we organized, now it’s time to strengthen. The American College of Sports Medicine strength guidelines call for 2 -3 days a week of strength work, including exercises that train all major muscle groups.

Think about this, as you’re lifting weights or executing body weight exercises can you breathe, maintain proper form, and perform your movements in a controlled manner and through a full range of motion? If not, stop and reorganize yourself.

Depending on your strength goals, shoot for 2-3 sets, with 8-15 reps of each exercise. My favorite no-equipment body weight strength workout is a quick warm up (brisk walking or stair climbing) followed by two to three rounds of squats, pushups (or plank hold), lunges, and dips.

Stretch: Now we stretch! The manner of stretching I do with my clients (and myself) has changed quite a bit over the years. Instead of holding long static stretches, I try to find ease and incorporate gentle movement while stretching. For example, focusing on breathing, and slowly lifting and lowering your leg during a passive hamstring stretch.

When we force ourselves into an overstretched position, our brain sends a message to our muscles that we’re in danger of injury and our muscles contract to protect the joint and soft tissue. If we breathe into a stretch, moving with curiosity rather than force, our muscles naturally lengthen and relax.

Using R.O.S.S.:

So how do we incorporate this concept into our workouts? In a sixty minute class, we may start with five minutes of release work, another five to ten minutes of organization, the next forty minutes or so of strength work, then spend the last five minutes stretching.

When training a client who is recovering from an injury, I may flip that equation, doing primarily release and organization work, and less strength work, depending on what her body needs that day. This is not just for “workouts” however, YOU can incorporate this concept into your daily activities. Want to be able to garden for hours on Saturday without injuring your back, or play on the floor with your grandkids without being hobbled with knee pain the next day? Start your day with R.O.S.S.!

  • Why R.O.S.S.? This efficient system allows for freedom of movement and builds strength and flexibility, while reducing pain and minimizing the chance of injury.
  • Who should do this? Anyone and everyone! Especially those suffering from chronic pain or recovering from surgeries or injuries.
  • How do I use this concept? In five to ten minutes, you could easily go through one or two of each of these moves for a quick, well-rounded program.
  • How often should I R.O.S.S.? Daily, if possible. Definitely at the start of any physical activity, like a hike, run, strength workout, yoga class, or even a long car ride.
  • Where can I R.O.S.S.? Your home, your office, at the park, at the airport…wherever is convenient for you!

Want to learn more about Anne’s R.O.S.S. program, or how to work pain free and injury free? Contact Anne today for your complimentary consultation.

Are you wondering, is this R.O.S.S. thing really a thing? YES! We made it into a thing, me and my ladies! The R.O.S.S. method allows you to be mindful about your movements, and also helps you prevent injuries. If you’ve seen me for a class or 1:1 training session you have no doubt heard me talk about my R.O.S.S. concept. During a yoga class a few years ago, I was explaining the best way to avoid injury and one of my ladies came up with the acronym – R.O. S. S. (Thanks Maureen!)

Who am I to make up a thing? I’m a Portland, Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. I offer classes, personal training, (and hopefully will resume offering massage therapy once we are no longer quarantined) and Movement + Massage sessions to help my clients reduce stress, and improve strength, flexibility and balance. 

© 2020 Fluid Movement + Massage LLC. All photos, text, and concepts are protected by U. S. and international copyright laws and cannot be copied, reproduced, or distributed in anyway without written permission of Anne McCranie.