The Human Body – What IS strength & What IS power
(I think everyone will enjoy this read)
We all have a testosterone level that changes over time, and it is affected by injuries, but what else?
I want you to think of our body’s testosterone level as the starting point in determining our strength at any given time. From there our strength will go up or down depending on what we do with our body.
Think of it as, our strength will increase by doing muscular conditioning workouts, but in the same token our strength will decrease when we focus on flexibility. However, that doesn’t mean that flexibility is not important. Think of a gymnast who needs flexibility, but the gymnast will need to do excessive muscular workouts to compensate for that flexibility so they do not lose strength.
So when a body builder works out and getting big, that person is actually putting muscle knots in to get bulky, but he loses flexibility by doing that. Whereas a gymnast will work out with weights as well but differently, they will work on elongating the muscles both during and after the workout so that no muscle knots form, and in turn, will not be as bulky as the body builder. So your question might be, who is stronger, the body builder or the gymnast? Based on what I just said, you would immediately think the body builder is stronger, but not necessarily because there’s another issue, power. So what I want to say is that it is not that simple, because a gymnast uses power as much as strength.
So what is power? We know that strength is needed for power, but what else? I’m going to use a silly example. Do you remember the Legally Blond movies, when they introduced an interesting concept, do you remember the bend and snap? The snap is the body using power. The speed at which we move. So what impacts speed of movement. Well muscle knots slow down the speed of movement and flexibility increases the speed of movement because of the fluidity of the movement and the range of motion that a flexible person has. So then you think again, who is stronger the body builder or the gymnast? Well being that a gymnast incorporates power or speed, and they have no reduction to that movement, the gymnast will appear more powerful then the body builder. So then you could say that the body builder is stronger only when flexibility and power are not needed. And if they are needed, well then the gymnast will be the more powerful one. Really cool, huh.
So now you have a positive and a negative regarding flexibility, so then you’re asking, then why is flexibility so important. Well that can be answered in one word, ACCURACY. Think of it as our flexibility and freedom from muscle knots gives us our greatest accuracy. The body builder doesn’t need accuracy, so that means he doesn’t need to be flexible or free from muscle knots. However, a gymnast needs to have the flexibility, the freedom from muscle knots, and the excessive physical muscular conditioning.
But that’s not all, the body makes muscular knots in the aging muscles as a means of creating strength and this happens when we exceed our body’s capabilities. For example, say you have a day where you have to lift a lot due to a move and you are no longer young. It might mean lifting all day, your body will think of your body as needing strength and the only means it has, is to make muscle knots in the aging system. But what happens when we have muscle knots in the aging system: 1) we first lose flexibility and range of motion, 2) it is difficult to keep the aging muscles balanced, so that means you could develop chronic pain, 3) we feel stiffer and older and 4) we become stockier (so what I’m saying here is that muscle knots in the aging system make you lose that trim little figure you once had and you accumulate more and more muscle knots over time and become thicker and thickerer).
So you may be thinking about your own sport and whether it needs flexibility or as I like to put it a freedom from muscle knots.
My current sport is tennis, and when I was riddled with muscle knots I still played aggressively, however I could set up the point perfectly and when it came to the winning blow, I would have an error. And yes that was frustrating. But the moral of the story is that muscle knots in sports will create an unpredictability in the movement of your muscles and the lack of fluidity. However, that doesn’t mean errors can’t still happen from other things like focus or pressure.
So in conclusion, flexibility is important if accuracy is important to whatever it is you do. And muscle knots whether they be in the aging system or not reduce that flexibility. And of course, our muscle conditioning is a determining factor in our strength and all of the above is important to power.
I hope you enjoyed this, it was literally years in the making. But I want to add one sidebar relating to my current sport, tennis.
Tennis people are all very interested in what makes hitting a tennis ball move through the air the fastest. And as you can see, there are several things to consider. I will go with the main three.
1) A freedom from muscle knots allowing for a full range of motion and fluidity of swing speed. Meaning a swing unrestricted by muscle knots.
2) The physical muscular conditioning of the movement.
3) Mental – Do you let it rip? You have no idea how many people just don’t let it rip. A controlled swing is not going to get you there.
Theresa L. Brumfield
The Perfect Back