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Brace Yourself

Brace yourself to get ready. 

Only at a velocity of zero can a muscle produce its maximal force, yet its length does not change.   In training this is called an isometric contraction and techniques such as pushing or pulling on an immovable bar or against a given load on an exercise machine at a particular angle are used to Get Stronger.

If you brace, tensing your musculature as hard as possible to protect yourself from a collision, the velocity of the muscle fibers is zero as impact occurs.

As the load increases during the brace due to a force applied by another object extrinsic to the muscle, the muscle will not yield appreciably up to about 30% of the change in the load.

isometric chart

In other words, a muscles ability to protect itself is about 30% higher than the force it can produce isometrically. This is natures built in cellular servomechanism. When the muscle is forced to lengthen against a load it is still able to resist the movement without accelerating at a velocity that will cause injury up to a inherit point.

This value or point is about a 2% velocity increase of a muscles V max or 2 % of how a muscle could voluntarily contract as fast as possible when it is unloaded.

In humans the built in servomechanism is important. If you are jumping or walking downstairs it enables a person to withstand a sudden load quite well.  This protects the musculotendon system from being improperly stretched and injured as the initial load is raised above the maximal isometric level.

When the load is above 40-50% of the muscle strength it will elongate the musculature at a fast rate and the forces and velocity begin to rise rapidly and often dangerously. Check out the above chart.

One of the many advantages of neck training is once the head and neck muscles  are strong the ability to slow down the acceleration of the head by bracing during contact is enhanced dramatically. As your strength rises so does the built in cellular mechanism of force protection against sudden loads.

A great reason to Get Strong.

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