Gwyneth Paltrow’s lean physique is the subject of envy in many regards, from her lithe frame, to her toned triceps and her long legs. So when we get any insider info from the actress herself as to how she maintains her shape, we always want to know more.
Case in point: her latest edition of lifestyle website Goop, where she shared the secret to getting those gorgeous gams. Sure, we already know she spends hours slaving away at the gym, including regular visits to trainer Tracy Anderson, but now she's sharing details on another aspect of her gym routine.
Before your body starts shaking at the mere thought of more squats or lunges, know that this portion of her workout won't leave you with jello legs. Au contraire: This time, the actress is waxing poetic about the importance of stretching our fascia--the connective tissue in our bodies that doctors are now considering to be the organ of structure or posture.
"At its best, the fascia is a thin membrane that covers all of our muscles," structural integrative specialist Lauren Roxburgh tells Goop. "At its worst, it bonds together to create knots, pain, tension, and thickness, impeding our body’s ability to exercise its full range of motion, and then enforcing the body’s tendencies to restrict itself and shorten. Through a combination of her hands and a foam roller, Lauren can re-align the body, eliminating thicknesses, bloating, toxins, and imbalances."
So does this workout really help us appear lengthened and toned? We asked Equinox Tier 3 Plus trainer Adam Schersten if we should indeed be following G.P.'s advice. "Fascia is like a three-dimensional spider web that runs through all of your tissue," he tells InStyle. "When you stay in a seated position for the majority of your day at your desk, those little 'spiders' are sewing your hamstrings short because your knees are bent, they’re sewing your calves short because your seated, and they’re sewing your hip flexors short. Therefore, those muscles will stay contracted and therefore begin to tighten and shorten."
So having a date with the foam roller is indeed a smart move. "Using the foam roller breaks up the webs that are holding you in those shortened positions," Schersten says. "After time, it will help muscles stretch to their full length, helping you stand taller, therefore leading to a longer, leaner-looking physique."
A leaner-looking frame and a pain-free lifestyle? We're sold!