Stronger Tendons, Stronger Body

Yes, it’s true – stronger tendons make a stronger body. Tendons, and their helpful cousins retinaculae, are specialized fascia that reinforce the body’s biotensegrity structure in areas where a lot of movement occurs. They can make or break the quality of our movement choices.

According to traditional anatomy and fitness culture, strength is increasing the size of a few big muscles that we can see in the mirror.  But bigger is not better.

Doing isolated exercises, like bicep curls, causes the belly or center of the muscle to get bigger. But the tendons at the ends of the muscles are not involved. 

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Our Tension-Based Body Structure

Old gross anatomy and classical mechanics can’t explain the dynamics of biological structures. The new anatomy of movement “biotensegrity” is a tension-based structure that explains the role of fascia and captures the diversity and strength of the body’s movement.

Simply put: our body structure is designed of “sticks” (bones that do not touch) and strings (fascia that connect to everything). Bones don’t move, fascia moves bones. There is a pre-stress to the entire system which locks in the forces and distributes them through the whole body.

How do we shift over to the new biotensegrity model?

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Explosive Strength for Athletes

When coaches refer an athlete to me, their first request is often to work on “explosive strength”. In basketball, quick pivots and high jumps. In baseball, fast throws. In soccer, direction changes and long kicks. On the track, fast starts. Really in all cases, quick, powerful moves in fast-paced sports.

I’ve learned that when we train one system at a time, we decrease our movement skills. No muscle or system works in isolation. So we must be careful to train for the full body movements we want, not for strength in specific muscles.

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