" In the pursuit of strength, you only have two options:
I have a fetish. It is exhilarating, liberating, the "magic pill" for immortality, the "one weird trick" you will ever need, it is tension!
Yes, my friend, tension. Tension is what I am obsessed with every time I step in to the gym and I know you will have the same response.
I first stumbled upon tension and the magnitude of it's ability to add strength several months ago from two Ohioans (is that really how to properly refer to residents of Ohio?)
In a seminar led by Team Leaders Reneta Music SFG II, SFL, SFB and Gary Music SFG II, I found that controlling my tension equated to instant "freebie" strength (wait, did I just say free? Yes I did!)
Instantly my deadlift increased. I had better control of my kettlebell snatch and began to say goodbye to torn hands, I was even able to perform more pull ups!
What is it?
Tension sounds rather vague.
What it is is muscle contraction. As your body moves tension is transferred from one area to another as needed. Take for example walking. One leg is anchored to the floor while the other lifts up. During this stage your abs are braced to support the trunk, and the muscles of the anchored leg are holding tension to support your body so the other could sweep through. If tension were not properly employed you will likely fall over and look ridiculous. Even while you sit or stand still your body is holding tension. Without proper tension, again, you will be falling over looking ridiculous.
How does tension increase my strength?
By knowing where to hold tension during a lift, you get the support you need to add weight. Look at the kettlebell swing. The swing is a beautiful dance of tension transferred from the abs during the back swing phase to the glutes at the apex. If tension is not held in the abs during the back swing, your back takes on the load and you will surely have pain the next day. The same holds true for the apex of the swing. If tension is not held in the glutes, your back will be crying tomorrow.
That's why strength is a skill. Learn how, where, and when to place tension in your body and you will be amazed by how much you are able to do.
Kerry M. Davis LMT, CIMT, SFG