Beginner Series

What is optimal joint function?

Optimal Humans

What is optimal function?

Think of function as movement integrity. Having optimal function means you have the control of multiple joints in movements that require mobility, body control and strength, all at once.

The modern fitness world values quantity over quality. Most of us are at least occasionally guilty of chasing tiredness and the “feeling” of working out over practice and gradual improvement. It’s no wonder we see so many injuries in the training population. 

Focusing on function first will help us to remedy this. 

Function is the precursor for higher intensity strength and cardio work

Training without optimal function is like driving your car with a handbrake on. It’s inefficient. And you’re leaving potential results on the table. 

If you can’t move your body optimally in a controlled environment, it won’t get any better by adding speed and intensity.

Poor function is an indicator of injury risk

You might get away with sub-optimal function, to a point. But the more speed and intensity you add to your training, the less focus you’re able to put on your movement integrity. Eventually something’s going to give. 

Your risk of injury goes up the more tired you get. And yes, this is true even with optimal function. But the lack of movement integrity amplifies the risk.

You have to earn the right to go hard. Optimising function is how you earn it.

What are the Optimal Human benchmarks of optimal function?

Having pain in any of the tests voids your results.

Single leg deadlift - To demonstrate hinge function, hip disassociation and single leg balance: perform 5 perfect reps eyes closed.

Push up - To demonstrate upper body push function and core stability: 10 perfect reps. Chest touching the ground on each.

Bodyweight squat - To demonstrate control through the squat pattern. As well as hip, ankle and knee range of motion: hold the bottom position for 2 minutes

Ass-2-grass Lunge- To demonstrate range of motion through the lunge pattern: bum to heal at the bottom position. Straight back leg at the top position (test both sides)

Dead-bug - To demonstrate trunk stability with hip and arm dissociation: arms and legs for 60secs

Dead hang - To demonstrate grip strength and shoulder range of motion: hold the hang for 2 minutes

Summary

Optimal function is about having the control of multiple joints in movements that require mobility, body control and strength, all at once. Limited function puts a handbrake on performance and elevates the risk of injury.

You have to earn the right to go hard. Optimising function is how you earn it.

The modern fitness world values quantity over quality. It’s no wonder we see so many injuries in the training population. Focusing on function first will help you to remedy this.

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