Getting Some Leverage

By Dr. Lon Kilgore

In ExPhysiology, Reference

May 01, 2010

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Dr. Lon Kilgore says paying attention to simple mechanics can help great coaches improve technique and get better results in the CrossFit box.

The human body is a complex system of levers that enables us to perform everything from very basic to extremely complex movements. Individually, levers are simple machines, and we can think of the body as a collection of machines.

During exercises, we want to use the levers of the body to produce movement of body segments or the entire body while maintaining control of the body so it does not perform extra work. Essentially we do not want to create any unnecessary lever arms that introduce movement inefficiency (bad technique).

Anatomically we are dealt a fairly static hand when it comes to levers: we are built the way we are. We can’t train to change the location where muscles attach to bones in order to improve mechanical advantage, but we can teach efficient technique. To do this, we must carefully observe our trainees routinely in order to identify lever arms that are erroneously introduced into the exercises we teach them. Once identified, we then need to practice the art of coaching to get rid of them. To do so accomplishes two purposes: (1) better performance leading to faster fitness gains and (2) safer exercise sessions.

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1 Comment on “Getting Some Leverage”

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wrote …

Awesome article Dr. Kilgore! As a former discus/shot put coach, this was the most important lesson a mentor gave me my first year coaching - The body is simply a system of levers. Understand the levers, and you can get a smaller person beating someone stronger by being more efficient in their movement. Again great read.

On a seperate note, where's my astronomy articles? Reading about the lever system of the body is not excerising my brain enough!

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