Sunday, January 6, 2013

“reciprocating” vs. “recirculating”

I have, until now, referred to the exercises that constitute my practice as “reciprocating”, but that really only applies to a small subset, those involving motion reversal, as though a short video were being played first forward, then backward, then forward, then backward again. Examined in fine detail, this is almost never the case; there is nearly always something which distinguishes the ‘return’ portion (when there is one) of a sequence of motions from being a true reversal. So, in nearly every case, the word “recirculating” is a better descriptor. Likewise, “cycle” is preferable to “sequence”. I will endeavor to use these more descriptive terms in the future.

To put a finer point on this, you might wish to abort a movement, in practice if you find that you are about to overstrain a joint or the muscles connected to it, or in application if you realize that what you'd begun to do stands little chance of working out as you'd hoped and is likely to get you into further trouble. But even aborting and backing out of a movement is not the same as reversing it. The impulse (force X time) that brings the initial motion to a stop and that which launches the backing away motion both point in the same direction, back. They are not mirror images of each other. What is actually happening is that you have initiated a new plan that has initial conditions (position and motion) which are very different from the one that came before it.

Exercises which are equally well described as “sequences” and “reciprocating” as “cycles” and “recirculating” are possible, but they tend to be less interesting (and less useful) than those that are better described by the latter terms. Still, they add some variety to the mix.

No comments:

Post a Comment