We have all seen this iconic drawing known as The Vitruvian Man by the prolific creator Leonardo Devinci. Genuinely when I examine the photo, what stands out beyond the two superimposed positions and their congruence to the circle and square, is the body size of the man. The Vitruvian Man himself has mobility in his shoulder and hips. While he may not be as muscular as Dwayne Johnson, his body type is not that of an ectomorph’s thin frame.
The Human Body
With a glaring emphasis of proportions, was DeVinci hiding a message in plain sight? How vital is symmetry in the body? Muscular imbalances are the fatal demise of an athlete or anyone for that matter. It becomes increasingly difficult to execute a movement with stiff joints, tight, or atrophied muscles. The highest functioning machines in the world inevitably crash over time, becoming weathered away by excessive usage. However, the human body, the most complex machine on the planet, erodes when it’s sedentary. You only got one body. YOU MUST USE IT!
It can be a daunting task to find the energy, or inspiration for that matter. Why? Because life craves energy and you’ll subconsciously always chose the path of least resistance because of that. Newton said it best, “everything has a cause and effect.” Remember, all food is energy, and calories are the units in which the energy in food is measured. That is why high-calorie food often tastes better. With an abundance of food options and substantial portion sizes, it’s challenging to avoid gorging. We consume plenty of energy, but are we utilizing it effectively, storing it, or burning it?
Why is energy so essential? Because food consumption and lack of movement can and will kill you! “Sedentary is the new smoking,” a mantra that resulted as a byproduct of research displaying the increased likelihood of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in sedentary adults; the desire to sit stems from conserving energy. If you want to start exercising but wonder whether to run, Cross-fit, pick-up basketball, Orange Theory, please crawl before you walk. The biggest misconception is the lack of regard for the intricacies of body composition. What are your daily tasks, and what are you trying to accomplish? You must also understand what your physical limitations are and if your weight is overstraining your joints. How conditioned are you to maintain the rigors of an activity?
How the body breaks down – Constant sitting leads to tight hips due to the constant shortening of the hip flexor muscle. Constant sitting will also lead to eventual weight gain, and now there is an excessive mechanical load bearing down on the knees resulting in arthritic knees and, ultimately, a total knee replacement. Hip, knee, and back injuries generally correspond with another and are usually met with the body immediately compensating and new injuries ensuing. Don’t lift your arms over your head, and it becomes difficult to put them over your head over time, the same goes when swinging your leg. Have you ever placed your luggage in the overhead bin, open the storage unit, and the heavy bag comes flying out? The pressure you put on your shoulder to stop the momentum of the bag dropping, these aches wear down the joint, and these minor injuries add up. Many of us have small tears that were never diagnosed in the rotator cuff and labrum tendons. Can you do a pushup, or does your body crumble because your elbows can’t maintain the strain of bearing all one’s bodyweight? Ever strengthen your ankles? Do you use your whole foot when you walk? The foundation of every movement starts from the ground up. How active are your glutes and hamstrings when you squat, walk, run, jump? Many of us are quad dominant, as the large muscle group often gets overworked as opposed to the glutes and hamstrings that often demand conscious contractions, learn to use these muscles! You will reduce the strain placed on your back when bending over to standing up; you will also run faster and squat more effectively.
The core muscles transfer the energy from the lower to the upper body and work to stabilize the body. A rotational movement can be defined as generating force from the ground that transfers that energy through the chain of the body to efficiently move from point A to point B by maximizing their power output in the desired task, like throwing a ball or swinging a golf club.
What does Vitruvian Man mean to me? There is divinity in the human body esoteric and exoterically. The shoulder and hips, the two ball socket joints that allow for congruence within a circle, are connected to limbs that often bare the mechanical load served best when the elbows and knees are bent at 90 degrees making a right angle, the foundation of a square. The body is a compilation of systems that demands energy that makes up an individual and must be examined and treated for structure and function holistically.
Fundamental principles such as geometry and physics are vital aspects of understanding the physical external world around us. When applied to human movement, one can further comprehend how their body operates.
With these theories in place that I firmly believe, I offer some guidance on how to exercise or what activity to do.
Ask your self….
Is my body functional enough to do what it wants to do safe and effective? If so, PROCEED!