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5.17.2024

Freedom To Excel

Man sprinting

The human body is described as having 6 degrees of freedom for each of its segments. Degrees of freedom refers to the number of ways a rigid body can move in three-dimensional space, up/down, left/right,  in/out and in 3 rotations; pitch, yaw and roll.

Biomechanics are an intrinsic part of neural control; muscle function is not solely based on its underlying biomechanics, easiest to understand in an anatomical area, such as the neck having >25 pairs of muscles and some not attaching to the cervical vertebrae. This means the preferred activation direction does not always align with the assumed function and cannot always be based on its insertion/attachment points and fiber orientation.

Movements potentially have infinite combinations of possible force solutions across muscles. A single muscle can be composed of multiple anatomical regions, each with their own mechanical functions that are innervated by hundreds of sensory and motor neurons. How our neuromusculoskeletal system navigates this complex landscape of possibilities while producing smooth movement with ease is remarkable. 

What does this all mean in coaching and athletic development?

This complexity makes motor skill acquisition increasingly functional and flexible and enables our bodies to always be constructing new variations and new ways to achieve our goals. Understanding effort can drive motor behavior and all athletes can get better, practicing muscle activity patterns and coaches continually exploring and perfecting developmental strategies means potential is endless. 

Man performing a running drill

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