Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Power of Observation and Awareness (Exercised)

The really surprising revelation was that a brief program to increase and maintain full (any) range of motion at the head, hands and feet for the people in the weakest condition, also benefits those at whatever level of fitness -- including those at the highest levels of proficiencies -- because the resistance is one’s own range of motion!

This also makes it the safest manner in which to exercise (move) because the body’s natural resistance against unlimited range of movement -- means that the maximum power production is only in the bodies safest position to do so.

While many exercise machines tout themselves for offering resistance through the greatest range of movement, what they always do, is increase the range in the muscle’s weakest range, and not its strongest -- which is what the Nautilus concept tried to address in varying the resistance as the muscle moved into contraction. However, the machines and resistance limit the range of movement into its greatest range -- which is that point in which a muscle cannot work in isolation -- but must engage and activate the synergistic contraction of every other adjoing muscle (all), which is precisely what one wants to do, in every normal, practical and useful movement.

It would never be advantageous to lift a weight only by arbitrarily limiting that effort only to a single muscle. The tremendous advantage would be in utilizing every muscle available to make that movement as effortless as possible. That manner of isolation greatly increases one’s chances of injury. In fact, it guarantees it.

Thus, the manner in which movement is taught and conditioned to use the greatest number of muscles doing so -- is the smarter, intelligent design -- that if achieved even once a day, has a profound impact on preconditioning and predisposing such movements throughout the rest of one’s daily movements.

In athletic competitions, we recognize it as all those “warmups” they do before they even attempt what they are primarily intent to do. But even in doing that, they go about it in the wrong way -- forcing their bodies into hyperstretched positions, usually with the other hand, or their body weight -- rather than voluntary, full-range activation of greatest relaxation alternated by greatest contraction. Again, most of these ranges of movement will be in the weakest, or most relaxed and vulnerable positions rather than in their strongest -- which would protect them against injury.

The best case in point is the familiar Achilles tendon stretch pushing against an immovable object to increase resistance and stress-- that done often enough, greatly increases the chances of getting that otherwise fairly rare injury, by causing low level stress and tear, which a voluntary, non-weight enabled movement would preclude. The safe movement would be shifting as much of one’s weight off of that foot, and raising the toes as much as possible towards the shin. That is the safe direction of movement -- limited by the resistance of its own muscular contraction (range of movement).

In achieving this effect, machines and other apparatus of resistance, including one’s own bodyweight, preclude that possibility. And so the rightful question to ask is, how do we remove every obstacle to that limit (resistance) but the body’s own actual limits -- and not just the machines?

And rather than suggesting all the contortions, of those areas not well designed for such movement, one should first direct such movements where the body is ideally suited for such movement (ranges) -- at the extremities of the head, hands and feet, that activate all the other supporting and stabilizing muscles because that is what they have to do as their primary function!

But because of this lack of observation and awareness, the lack of fitness in affluent societies is not due to a lack of effort with a shamefully primitive and misguided understanding of the body and its processes, but simply requires a review of the right understanding and its exercise (articulation) -- of which there is no substitute otherwise, no matter how much of the wrong thing one does!


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