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Support muscles - Input Junkie
January 22nd, 2010
11:58 am

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Support muscles
I've heard[1] that there are two sorts of skeletal muscles-- little muscles near the bones which specialize in support, and bigger muscles in a layer farther out which specialize in movement. Biology being the complicated thing that it is, I expect that there's some overlap.

If one's body isn't organized in a way which lets your support muscles really do their work, then some of it has to be done by the movement muscles, which means they're overworked (support muscles are optimized for endurance) and less free for movement.

What has just occurred to me is that support muscles aren't very voluntary compared to movement muscles. That's why it's a standard piece of advice to imagine a string pulling you up-- using your imagination contacts your support muscles in a way that deciding to stand up straight doesn't. (The string thing might contact your support muscles-- it doesn't do anything for me. I'm willing to cut the common wisdom of the human race some slack and assume that it works for a lot of people.)

[1] In other words, I've heard it from people I trust, it sounds reasonable to me, and I don't have a convenient way to check it.

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
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I expect you're onto something. Another factor: I notice that fine-tuning movements of the hands and arms seems to happen with very small movements along the spine. And I think I've seen that mentioned by some Expert.


/houseboatonstyx/
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 22nd, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
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That sounds very interesting. Could you expand on it?

IIRC, there's a bit in Feldenkrais that the feeling of not knowing what to do with your hands is caused by lack of central support in the body.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Difficult to describe. Like, I'm using arm and hand and shoulder movements when I reach for the mouse and move the cursor way across the screen. But when I'm trying to click on the side of a window and change its shape, then I think finetuning that movement involves some muscles between the shoulder blades or along the spine. Breathing gets into it too, as that area is right behind the lungs.

Hm, in bicycling, say coasting down a slope and wanting to make a wide turn near the bottom, I find myself taking a breath in a certain way so as to shape the lungs which shape the spine to get just the right slant to tilt the bicycle....
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From:agrumer
Date:January 22nd, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
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Is this like the difference between "fast twitch" and "slow twitch" muscle?
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 22nd, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
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I suspect it's ever so much more so-- the difference between a sprinter and a marathoner is probably less than whatever enables person who hasn't done any special training being able to sit for hours and only have a slightly tired back.
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