Saturday, August 01, 2009

Going Beyond Nautilus Principles (Machines)

If one limited the discussion of what is possible, to the movement of one joint (axis of rotation) of the human body, it might be accurate to say that a Nautilus machine did describe the full range of movement of each muscle in isolation -- but a greater point, is that the primary function of each muscle, is in fact, to recruit every other muscle in performing any task, so that achieving great proficiency in isolating the effort, would be detrimental and counterproductive to the larger end.

We see that in sports when one player may be good, but he doesn't raise the level of play of everybody else on that team (effort), but undermines every other player's best performance so that they can remain singularly the best. That is the product of conditioning that effects the best -- but only in isolation -- and not as a group and synergistic effort, which is likely to be more the effect and effort required in most real life events and performances -- the whole, rather than just the one.

In contemporary society, we are witnessing the effects of that kind of conditioning and culture -- of specialization and isolation, in which one hopes to excel in isolation -- regardless of the progress and advancement of the whole (society). In such a consciousness, it might be important to know how much one knows -- in isolation, or competition to every other, rather than finding out the ultimate limits of what is possible to know using every resource and intelligence possible -- and recognizing that defining the boundaries of one's "own" in that way, creates limits to the known and possible.

Frequently in hearing discussions on conditioning activities, one is likely to hear someone pronounce triumphantly that "Walking is the best exercise, and they walk at least an hour a day," as though that was somehow proof of the excellence and value of that activity -- instead of it being merely a consumption of one's time and resources (remaining life and usefulness of one's body). Usually the presumption in people who think in that fashion, is the belief that the human body is an unlimited resource that never wears out or down -- rather than a precious resource that must be used and managed judiciously, and selectively.

Even the champion and best at any activity, doesn't want to be running every race, and rising to every challenge because that would detract from their best at the appropriate time and place for it -- which is likely to be when one least expects it, and so one wishes to retain that reserve for that occasion -- rather than always being spent and exhausted. That is why one would never condition oneself to "failure," but would condition themselves to persist in that activity until the right moment for its ultimate peak performance -- and conserve one's energies otherwise.

Single effort athletes spend most of their time preparing for their event by trying to achieve the greatest state of relaxation and calm possible -- recognizing that their effort is the difference from that change of state, in which all the muscles are fully relaxed, to the single fraction of a moment in which every muscle has achieved its great effort of contraction -- in synchronization with all the others. All the years of training and dedication, comes down to a single moment, in which they are at their all-out best, at the right time, at the right place.

Those with a high degree of consistency, are notable for always being at the top, while many others, will move in and out of the top rankings from year to year, and even event to event in that same year and season. That separates the similarly gifted, from the best at that activity -- at that time.

People who study movement therefore, would be loathe to pronounce that "Walking is the singular best activity," because the degree and effect of change is minimal -- and can be described as merely falling forward and catching oneself reliably enough. Who is the best at walking is not likely to be answered by simply who walks the best, or who walks the most, farthest and fastest. It is a question usually regarded as meaningless to answer, or even ask the question -- as though it had some merit.

But the question that would be of greatest significance, is that in doing anything, what is the universally recognized moment of peak performance? -- and that would be the moment in which one could effect the greatest change from fullest relaxation, to fullest contraction, of all the muscles in synchronicity. That is in fact, what great athletes and performers of any activity do.

When that is seen clearly, then one recognizes that doing that even once a day would be a great achievement -- and the question of how much to do, is much less relevant, than the significance of how to achieve that even once.

The great value of Nautilus machines was in describing the proper movement to effect the fullest range and contraction in isolation -- which is not the end but the beginning of the fullest actualization of that possibility, which is the triggering, recruitment and involvement of all the other muscles from that singular movement. This is true of virtually every movement performed on any Nautilus machine -- what movement from that point of fullest muscular contraction, would then activate and involve all the other muscles of the body to achieve.

Obviously, that would be the most efficient manner to condition the human body for movement and activities. Only with this understanding is it possible to achieve high levels of performance and functioning in doing anything -- and not through the innumerable distractions and detractions of thinking that doing anything, has the same beneficial effect of understanding what one is doing, and achieving only that.


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