Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Biomechanics - An Overview

As you begin your journey to mastering a physical discipline, you will inevitably become quite the practical biomechanist.  The study of STRUCTURE will lead you to achieving knowledge in gaining more power, more function, and more utility out of your own body's structure, as well as learning to avoid the stresses that compromise your structure.  Remember, you only get one body in this life, so take care of it!  We believe that training for longevity is key to health and fulfillment.

Biomechanics is a vast and complex field of study, but there are a few key components (that we have compiled) which pertains to your study of mastering a physical discipline.  We have made efforts in creating and compiling concepts that are easy to remember.

The first concept to understand is Macro-Movement and Micro-Movement.  Your macro-movements are the larger, more broad skill sets that you learn in any physical discipline - such as walking, standing, running, jumping, pulling, pushing, striking, landing, and vaulting.  Macro-movement engages the entire structure, as well as large muscle groups.  Micro-movements are more specific skill sets - such as turning, rotating, pointing, and stabilizing.

Most skill sets require both Macro-movement and Micro-movement techniques to achieve.  Here at Free Flow Academy, we test and experiment with macro and micro level movement techniques. They are tested, studied, and peer reviewed, and then we compile these movement techniques into our literature, so that we can  teach our students to optimize their function and utility, as well as minimize risk.  All of the progressions, and skills you learn at Free Flow Academy have been tested for safety and effectiveness.

Furthermore, think of macro-movement and micro-movement as you would food nutrients.  Your body needs macro nutrients to survive (such as fats, proteins, and carbs).  The same goes for movement. Your body has to move, otherwise the cells begin to die.  Diversified and continual movement all throughout your day, and all throughout your life preserves the health of the body. Walking, standing, and general movement all throughout the day are your Macro-movement nutrients.  But your body also needs micro nutrients (such as trace minerals and vitamins).  Your body doesn't create trace minerals and vitamins on its own.  You have to give your body those things, through food in order to optimize the function of your body.  Your micro-movement nutrients are just the same.  Your body is not naturally able to hand stand or balance on a slack line, but if you give your body the feedback it needs in order to do these things, then your body will become stronger, more adaptable, and it's function will be further optimized (in a physical sense).

Now that you know you need to be moving continually all throughout the day, all throughout your life in order to preserve your most basic function, let's talk about how your daily life affects your ability to build skill.  Did you know the average American teenager only walks 11 minutes a day?!?! Sedentary habits are the main cause of biomechanical disorders - such as back and knee pain.  Make every effort to avoid being in the sedentary category of society.  Try to get in at least 5 miles of walking per day, all through out the day.  Do not sit in a desk all day, then train vigorously for 2 hours out of the day, and expect your body to not experience the punishment of such a regime.  If you are awake 12-14 hours of the day, and sit for most of it, then workout for 2 hours, you are in a category called "Active Sedentary".  Be sure you are getting up from a chair and walking around every 45 minutes. Stand and walk a distance as often as you can.  Take the stairs, not the elevator, and develop lifestyle habits that make you stronger, not weaker.

Diversify the way you sit.  If you are sitting at a 90 degree angle for 8 hours a day, think of the stress the lumbar region of your spine is taking each and every day!  Diversify your movement constantly and continually.  If you have difficulty crouching or squatting, know this is unnatural, and is a biomechanical disorder that you have developed from years of being sedentary and/or not utilizing the function of the body that would allow you to crouch or squat.  The good news is that you can correct these disorders by diversifying your movement and giving your body the feedback it needs to rehabilitate and correct itself.

The second concept to understand is how important it is to Condition the body.  Conditioning is carefully planned and calculated to give your body the impact feedback it needs to build up strength in your bones, muscles, cartilages, and ligaments.  Furthermore, conditioning is designed to help you build up strength, while minimizing risk and unnecessary stresses on the body.  For instance, it's not a smart move to just practice flipping all day.  That's a lot of undue stress on your ankles, knees, and back.  It's also not particularly safe to flip your body as you become tired from physical stress.  You can build up the strength your body needs to flip and land with good technique and precision by doing conditioning exercises.  That way when you do orchestrate your flip, and move through your progressions, you have a higher chance of doing it correctly and safely because your body is built for it.  Then once you have mastered the skill you can move on to more advanced skills.

The third concept to understand is Application.  The whole point of attending Free Flow Academy is to accomplish two things.  1) Improve your performance, 2) Reduce your risk of injury/or rehabilitate an injury.  Your coaches are using certain methodologies to improve your performance as an athlete.  One of the most important take away's a coach can give you is their ability to judge the forces, that are causing you to perform poorly, or inadequately to perform a function.  Coaches use their wisdom and experience to pinpoint the flaws in your kinetic patterning and devise a plan to get you functioning in a way that improves your performance.  Apply your Coaches knowledge, as they have the experience necessary to propel you to success.  They are your observers, advocates, and supporters.  

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