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Biomechanic Basics – What You Need to Know!

Biomechanics is the study of how living structures are put together and how they act and interact with forces within and around them. It necessarily encompasses anatomy and physiology.  For humans, this means how you’re put together and the best movement sequence to accomplish a particular task.

The human body can be described as a bowling ball on top of a Slinky® balanced on an upside-down pyramid balanced on a rectangle.  These correspond to the head, neck, torso, and hips and legs, respectively.  Walking or running further complicates things by turning that rectangle into a triangle.  No wonder balancing is hard!

Related: Stop “Stretching”!  Do Mobility Work Instead

Our many joints, ranges of motion, and other attributes enable us to perform an infinite variety of movements and accomplish an infinite variety of tasks.  The thought of how to move properly in the face of such infinite possibilities can be overwhelming, but we can simplify this task with just two principles that should be adhered to whenever performing a physical task:

(1) Stabilize your spine.  The spine includes 24 movable joints.  When performing work, ideally we don’t want any one of those joints to move, because that creates the potential for injury and interferes with power transfer.  The safest and strongest position for the spine is neutral and braced.  Where the spine must move, it should move as little as possible and as well as possible.

Related: Breathing: So Simple Anyone Can Do It

(2) Move from your trunk to extremities – the human body generates force most efficiently when movement begins at the muscles attached to the hip or shoulder first, followed by the knee or elbow, and finally the ankle or wrist.   Movement should be a wave of contractions from closer to the body’s center to its outer limits.

These two principles can guide virtually any movement of the human body.  Even swimming follows these principles.

Contact me to learn to apply these principles to your movement, whatever it may be!

John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com