“What is this?? Are you saying a person can build soft muscles rather than hard ones??”
Two weeks ago, I wrote an email about muscle control to which I received this reply.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what he meant by this. But here is what I mean by it.
Should a muscle be hard or soft? Truthfully, you want it to be both…but at different times.
When contracting, ideally your muscles should be hard as rock or steel.
BUT if your muscles are always that hard, or close to it, guess what? You’re not going to be very mobile.
You’re also going to have to eat much more because this means there is constant tension in the muscles which will be burning energy all the time.
(While you may think of this as a good thing if you need to lose some fat, and it can be there, overall think of the metabolic cost of simply processing more food, energy, waste over time. Not so great for longevity.)
So, let’s switch to the flip side.
When relaxing, ideally your muscles should be as soft as a bowl of jello.
Here you’ll have great flexibility and great mobility. But if that’s all you got you won’t be strong.
Ideally, you want your muscles to be soft as jello by default, and able to become like steel when you want them too.
The ability to go from relaxation to contraction is what allows for explosiveness. If you go from semi-contracted to contracted then you’re not as explosive. If you go from relaxed to semi-relaxed you’re not as explosive. Thus you NEED both sides of this coin, so to speak.
Muscle control, by training contraction and relaxation, helps to build both sides of this ability.
Strength training, in all its forms, generally works on the steel side of the equation.
And intuitive mobility, as I lay it out, generally works on the jello side of the equation. Relaxation is key to most moments, but in some ways, the contraction does come in too.
And if you’d like to check out what Intuitive Mobility is all about, go here.
These two skill sets actually end up having a good amount in common, though you may not see that on the surface of them.