Basic Anatomy & Physiology

"muscles are the engines which allow the bones to move in the way you want"

Just as race car driver doesn’t need to know how a 4-cylinder, turbo-charged, fuel-injected engine operates, their  knowledge of that system helps them be a better driver. Understanding how your body operates will help you too.  Here is a basic overview of how you work .


There are 206 bones in the body which provide the framework (skeleton) on which the muscles attach.  This wonderful system of hinges, levers, and specialized joints is the framework that enables you to move and do things. Without a skeletal system, you’d be a jellyfish. When designing an exercise program you have to account for how your skeletal structure evolved to move the way it does. This means you have to be aware of the planes of motion that the bones will allow. Hinge joints (knees and elbows) is  easy, they only move in one direction. Complex joints (neck, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles) gets more complicated. Be constantly aware of the plane of motion you are working. Proper form is paramount.


These are the workhorses of the human body. Muscles are the engines which allow the bones to move in the way you want.  Muscles adapt to the load put on them.  Varying the loads we place on them though exercise by changing the amount of resistance,  the number of set or reps never allows the muscles to fully adapt.  When you hit plateaus in your workouts, it’s indicative of your muscles having fully adjusted to the load.


Ligaments are the tough connective tissues which help hold the joints together.  They are also a major source of many bad sports injuries.  Usually ligaments are injured from a direct trauma to the joint, like someone falling on your arm or leg, or by hyperextending a joint under load. The problem with ligament injuries is that since ligaments are not flexible and lack good blood flow, they take a long time to heal.  No away around it!  Ignore the rest rule and you are guaranteed a lifetime of re-injury. There are ways to actively rest; still workout, just isolate the joint from any loads.


These are the ends of muscles which taper down and attach to the bones.  They are also susceptible to strains, sprains, and direct trauma. Tendons are often subject to irritating overuse injuries, like tendonitis.  This is when the tendon gets inflamed in the tendon sheath and that inflammation causes pressure to build up and it sends your brain a pain signal.  Listen to your body when it tells you this.  Trying to push past the pain will only further aggravate the already weakened tendon and could lead to a more severe injury such as a tendon rupture where it actually separates from the bone or a nagging and chronic, meaning it doesn’t go away, condition which will limit your ability to reach maximum performance. Often times you can work through tendon injuries with proper instruction and specialized techniques to avoid stressing the injured tendon

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