Strength Performance Network

When you get down to it, those in our profession, for the most part are working to train "bodies in motion."  "Bodies" both figuratively and quantitatively.  This concept relates directly to the principles of physics and Sir Issac Newton.

Shouldn't we be asking on a consistent basis, "how does the understanding of these principles apply directly to what I am doing and to the protocols I employ?" 

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

- How am I working to overcome inertia?

II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.

- What is the relationship between force and velocity?

- What planes of motion am I training in, what planes of motion will the athletes compete in?

- Does improving generic force also result in increases in dynamic acceleration?  NO, NO, NO!

- If not, perhaps there is more to improving acceleration than just improving 1-RM.  Perhaps, there is more to how we develop force potential as well?

III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

- What we do to the body (forces enacted upon), the body has to be able to withstand.

- There's a vast difference between a point on a plot or chalkboard and the human body.

- Most significant injuries during training don't occur in real-time, rather result from reaction over time.

If you have a few moments, check-out one of Dr. Walter Lewin's lectures.  He has a way of illuminating some topics that in the current strength and conditioning climate are seemingly hazy.


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Comment by Taylor Carlson on December 31, 2014 at 12:28am

Thanks for your response.

Comment by John Mikula on December 29, 2014 at 6:54am

Absolutely, I would say most injuries occur due to chronic stress over time rather than being a single, traumatic incident.  I would apply this to the weight-room as well.  I believe over time subjecting the musculature and connective tissue to too much force degrades their elastic properties and may plasticize them in a negative manner which makes the points of stress more susceptible to injuries.  I guess we could call this "rusting the links of the kinetic chain."  Look at how many non-contact injuries occur in sports and training. 

I also believe that most athletes do not have a good base of strength using their body weight vs being able to lift weights.  I see this everyday with those I train, the athlete can lift a house, but challenge them with just body-weight exercises and this tells a much different story of how they can apply force potential.  Even as we age, I'm a strong proponent of body-weight strength being the base for more advanced means of training.

Comment by Taylor Carlson on December 28, 2014 at 11:16pm

Good post.  The problem is to many S&C coaches use methods that produce force in excess of what that athlete is able to absorb (or as you state "withstand") safely.  There must be a reasonably high level of strength achieved before the use of advanced methods.  Determining what that level is can be challenging but many good coaches have shared their thoughts on the topic. 

Quick question- In regards to 3rd law- are you stating that most injuries occur due to chronic stress (force), rather than one acute incident of force.  If so, I agree.

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