As Much As Necessary, As Little As Possible
Efficiency is defined as “the ratio of useful work performed to the total energy expended”. We know that we want a machine to be efficient, but what about our bodies? I know that I have accidentally left my parking brake on before while trying to drive. The car didn’t go as fast, and I was harming the car as well. The obvious solution in this case is to just release the parking brake, not to push harder on the gas. I feel that so often traditional gym exercises are the equivalent of pushing on the gas with the parking brake on. Exercises that use the maximum amount of muscles that aren’t necessary are inefficient and cause injury. We want to improve our efficiency of movement and actually use fewer muscles to accomplish the same task. In this way, we conserve energy and decrease our risk for overuse injury.
Polestar Pilates founder, Brent Anderson, often says, “As much as necessary, as little as possible.” If you create energy that is not put towards useful work, where does that energy go? Energy that isn’t useful is destructive, which translates to overuse injury in the body. Just like most things, inefficient movement isn’t a big deal if you only do it once or twice, but if you practice and train for inefficient movement, then it becomes a problem. Our central nervous system (CNS) is always trying to make us more efficient at what we do, even subconsciously. This means that the quality of attention to our movement affects how productive we are at accomplishing that movement. I say this often and have even written a previous blog post about it. Practice does not make perfect, but rather perfect practice makes perfect! It’s important that the time you take for yourself for exercise or any movement practice that you are focused on proper and efficient movement for longevity of body movements without pain or injury. Pilates reformer training is a great way to begin or continue your movement journey to help your body be at its most efficient.