021219 Making the most of your functional properties part 1 of 2

021219 Making the most of your functional properties part 1 of 2

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A.CSCS

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The body determines the form of its interactions/reactions while responding to and solving a physical task. This ‘natural response’ solution is based upon the athlete’s genetic fiber type composition, its structural attachment make up, previous experience, and training. Systematic training, not just going to the gym and hitting the weights several times a week is the key phrase.

The body is linked together by the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles all working or at least striving to work in harmony with one another to move the kinematic pairs, chain, and system in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

At the base level, (the kinematic pair-the two combined and actively adjacent links) movement is dependent upon the purpose of the link, the development of the abilities to express a large motor force-strength, or the movement displayed with a large angular speed. All of these actions take place simultaneously, along with other contributing motions, to perfect a movement pattern. The anatomical interaction specifics of each person’s nervous/muscle/bone structures will ultimately determine the direction and nature of the movement. Some athletes seem to have a natural ability to run fast, whereas others seem to be able to run long distances with ease. Training will increase nearly everyone’s ability to run fast or farther regardless of their natural potential.

Strength changes in isolated single joint movements appear to be dependent upon the functions and role of the joint in relationship to the directional bias of the other links of the body. These changes alter the conditions under which the muscles do their work, i.e. the angles and length of the muscles are changed. When the angles and length change, the muscle strength and leverage advantages are altered which affects the rotational moment force of the muscle. In each case, these alterations have a direct effect on the maximal external force, taking place at any specific joint angle.

For example, it is known that maximum force in the elbow joint occurs at 90 degrees during an isolated elbow flexion movement and at 120 degrees extension. Highly trained athletes have the ability to express their maximum force at a wider range of angles closer to the maximum joint angles. This force is developed into specific classifications.