One of the fascinating and critical characteristics of muscle is that, when healthy, it can generate variable amounts of tension at variable lengths. That may sound like a very simple thing, but that range of variable force generation is what allows you to move precisely and adapt to unaccustomed forces/motion. I’m calling this characteristic Muscle Group P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L.
Why should you care? Here are a 2 examples of what you can do with Muscle Group P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L.
1. Performance enhancement: Hypertrophy, Power, Endurance
Acquiring more lean body mass is a way of helping clients achieve several different goals; increased power, joint motion, ability to maintain specific postures (joint positions), and rate of fat loss. Yet this can be elusive for some clients. Strategically manipulating the elements of Muscle Group P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L. gives you a customizable framework to design exercises that measurably stimulate hypertrophy.
What does this look like in practice? Exercises designed to strategically manipulate of the following variables:
•type of resistance
•type of contraction
•ratio of contraction type
•the range through which the tissue is moving
•direction of force
•choosing an object for the mind, etc.
2. What’s the issue with the tissue?
Sometimes a joint or a series of joints aren't moving or maintaining a posture as well as expected or needed. Since muscle groups are one of the constituents that control joint motion, understanding the elements of Muscle Group P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L. can help you strategically investigate and potentially enhance a muscle groups ability to control posture and movement.
What does this look like in practice? Exercises designed to strategically induce acute increases in the available output of neuromuscular system, i.e., exercises that immediately increase force output. In addition, exercises tuned to favor the architecture and metabolic type of specific muscle groups.
By exploring Muscle Group P.O.T.E.N.T.I.A.L., we can refine, design, and strategically choose stimuli to induce acute and/or chronic adaptations that lead to increases in strength, endurance, power, hypertrophy, and the ability to efficiently control joint positions. After all, we are just trying to make sure that muscle groups live up to their potential.
If designing exercises using the information and strategies briefly outlined above sounds intriguing, useful, and exciting to you, I’d like to invite you to Force and the Nervous System, Part 1 (FNS1). We will investigate and apply even more!
Please check out what our colleagues have to say about FNS1. I hope to see you in class!