Monday, March 21, 2016

Exercise and Efficiency

I was thinking the other day about how exercise can teach us some bad lessons about efficient movement. Not all exercise, because obviously some weight lifting movements are based on how to efficiently get as much weight up as possible by using your whole body. I'm talking more about body specific exercises, or what might be called aesthetic exercises. These exercises make us strong, but they don't teach us how to use our strength.

Using structure and body weight to power technique is about using gravity and the natural sweet spots of your bones and muscles to perform work, while using the least amount of chemical energy possible, fuel. It's about using the least amount of muscle necessary. It's harder to fight if your tired and generally dropping your whole weight on someone will get more done than punching with just your arm. Many exercises on the other had excel at being exercises because they are inefficient. To maximize the benefit of many exercises, you move in a way that stresses the muscles the most. It is literally the point of exercise to stress the muscles to stimulate their growth. In a real way, these movements strengthen the muscles, while showing us the exact opposite way to use them.

Is this an argument against these types of exercises? No, but it could be. It's only to bring up the point that we need to be aware that what goes into training something and what goes into using something can be different things. We have a tendency to confuse effort with effectiveness. We feel strong when we use muscle, because the only other time we might feel strong is when we're in the gym. Weights make us strong right? In reality, a movement is usually very strong if we feel nothing at all, because it's efficient.

More principle articles are on the way. They just take longer to put together. Cheers.