Click here to check part 1 of this series.
The perfect joint is one that can move without restrictions. The perfect joint is one that is surrounded by muscles that are long and strong. The perfect joint is one in which mobility and stability are in synchrony. Let’s study the perfect joint.
First, a joint is the unison of two bones. These connections are what create a functional skeleton, not letting it being just one large entity without movement capacity. And they are governed by the relationship between mobility and stability.
Mobility is the capacity for movement. Thus, a joint like the hip has a lot of mobility in comparison to one like the knee, but the price it’s stability.
Stability, quoting Paul Chek, refers to the capacity and consistency of a joint “to move around its instantaneous axis of rotation”. This means that the joint stays in its correct anatomical position, like the shoulder staying in the glenohumeral joint. So during movement or rest, the joint should be nicely positioned and never move outside that correct position. You may know the contrary of stability when you feel your shoulder “pop out” of its ball type compartment.
Above all, a healthy joint is one that can move. And this movement is determined by the muscles that surround it, which have a relationship between tension and length. Tension is force, exertion and strength. It is the capacity of a muscle to contract, thereby making it shorter. Length is relaxation and flexibility. It would be the capacity of a muscle to relax, thus making it longer.
A chronically tensed muscle is called tonic, which becomes permanently short and tight. On the contrary, a phasic muscle becomes long and weak.
Finally, a joint can bear many forces, but all of them irradiate from the basic tension and compression. A tension load is created when something is pulled apart, like when you hang from a bar and your shoulders have to resist the gravity pull. A compression force is one where the parts are being pushed together, like you experience during a push up.
The question then becomes, is the relationship between stability and mobility, strength and flexibility, exertion and relation, tension and compression, one of antagonism? In other words, are we doomed to pick one over the other?
In the short term, probably yes. And depending on the joint, you want to work prioritize one quality over the other. But check the following video:
I hope this amazing video gets my point across: the seemingly opposites can be brought together to an optimal balance. That balance is, of course, determined by each specific activity, but the premise remains truth: we can be flexible AND strong, mobile and stable. Why? Because a stable joint is one which you can control, and you can train yourself to do this in your end ranges of motion.
The perfect joint is one of those ideals that demand the best of us: to overcome a world of antagonism and commit ourselves to something beyond our current sense of possibilities.
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–Pliable body (Get flexible fast!)
–The Dynamic Structure (Bulletproof your joints!)