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The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

Tension, effort magnification and Energy expenditure Bookmark

Low energy levels is a common issue we see in individuals inquiring into internal training. People may be systemically tired or feeling weak regardless of apparent physical exertion. Perhaps the most common (but least recognized in the individual) impact on a persons energy level can be tensions and misalignment causing inefficient body usage and excessive physical expenditure.


If we examine the actual load forces and mechanical effort that a given action takes for a relaxed and aligned person vs a tense and misaligned person we may see a multiple time increase in the forces required for the given action. This shouldn’t be too surprising to any mechanical engineers out there considering the ‘lever’ natural of many of our articulations.

For instance, for the healthy relaxed and aligned individual picking up something from a low bench is a relatively easy and simple task. They may squat down slightly, incline forward a little as the arms hang naturally, scapular well seated. Then as they grasp the object the legs, posterior chain, and forearms will tension and work in unison as the object is lifted. Everything is optimally aligned, muscle groups work in harmony and no one part of the body is carrying excessive load.


In contrast, someone with tension issues may have a very different expenditure, often without even realizing.


They may well squat slightly just as the healthy person, incline a little, but then the shoulder will front rotate, the thoracic spine will bow, the cervical spine kink, the scapula flair out, the Lumbar may tighten along with the buttocks and a series of isolated tensions may build. This postural skew will mean that the weight of the head is coming into play on the overall structure, the bodies core muscles start to fire to stabilize the posture as the load is grasped, individual muscle groups are now firing at high states of tension to counter the loss of whole body connection. 


So the load is lifted i both instances but in the first the body works as a mechanically unified whole, and the second, well, it is often the case that the individual doesn’t realize the war that their body just went through in order to perform a simple task! And that war costs energy! 


When you extrapolate that across many actions throughout each day it is not hard to see why poorly aligned or tense individuals suffer from 'low energy'. They are expending much more energy throughout the days normal tasks than the aligned and unified individual.


One of the aims of alignment training in the internal arts is to address this inefficient body usage in everyday tasks and correct over expenditure. Individuals often report an increase in daily energy after some time training and much of this increase can simply be laid at the feet of a higher level of unconscious body unification."



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