Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Countermovements & Inefficient angles (Windup)

To better makes sense of your legs and how you windup, they work like your arms. There is a difference in strength when measured isometrically (static) and say how to make club head speed to send the golf ball 300 yards!

So lets think about your arms and think about your biceps muscle and a inefficient angle of attachment of the muscle to the bone when the elbow is extended. If the elbow flexion through the complete range of motion (ROM) of the elbow joint is to be made, one can exert a greater force on a dynamometer or lift a heavier weight by first making and then braking a rapid countermovement with a resistance such as a weight of the dumbbell to be lifted during the subsequent elbow flexion.

This countermovement or what we call (windup) causes the biceps to be stretched as it contracts eccentrically to brake the downward movement of the dumbbell. Thereafter an immediate high level of force is generated during the rapidly ensuing elbow flexion movement.
A similar sort of positive effect of countermovement is sought whenever one winds up prior to throwing a baseball, football, golf, ax, or when one winds up with with a sledge hammer to ring the gong at a carnival.

Does not a woodsman wind up with their ax prior to chopping a tree? We can learn from other forms of labor!

The apparent reason why a windup e.g. golf, ax, etc... or countermovement aids the expression of strength is that by stretching the elastic muscle and connective tissue during the eccentric contraction phase, energy is stored in these tissues that is immediately released during the first part of the subsequent concentric contraction.

At the highest level of professional skiing, we worked on this phase of the legs working because the legs are moving so fast. The stored energy is somewhat similar to that observed when a rubber band is first stretched and then released. The angle of your leg will increase or decreased one's chance to store energy. In fact, if you had your mind on the outside leg of a ski turn, you were late!
That was one of the main reason Anke Friedrich from Germany was boht NCAA Sl and GS Champion when she raced for the University of Utah. We had Anke looking a pictures at her home in her bathroom, bedroom, etc... to keep the inside leg at a certain angle to increase stretch and speed of that leg. It made her quicker!

That is why you see people fighting the moves on both skis and cycling. People tend to work on the wrong phase of the pedal stroke. They muscle it too much! And when you muscle it too much, you are more inefficient, giving the foot speed of about 5,000 strokes per hour.
We just had Kurt Hartmaier of Racer Mate (Sales & Technical Support) maker of Velotron and CompuTrainer at the Ironman show make 100 more watts at the Quest Center in Boise by showing him how to do this. We had many people standing around watching the watts go up!
The next time someone is measuring strength for you, precautions should be taken to either eliminate or standardize windup movements because there will be differences in subjects' skills in performing any sport.
Here is his number for those of you who don't think this so! 206 524-7392 ext. 338 or 800 522-3610 in Seattle, WA.

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