There is some new technology coming our way from Stanford. They claim it is better than steroids. The article is excellent, please read the whole thing. Temperature is the primary limitation on muscle performance and now they think they understand why and how to work around it. Strength training is about to enter a new era.
In a previous post I outlined my new theory which posits that there are two categories of movement, energy efficient and power efficient.
Power efficient movement doesn't make us sweat, it doesn't make us over heat, it doesn't give us sore muscles and it doesn't wear down the soft tissues of our bodies. It can make us very tired, but we'll just want to find a place to lay down and sleep. Like a cat.
Energy efficient movement allows us to walk or run for long periods of time. It also allows us to work with our hands, carry things, and multi-task. All these activities induce fatigue, pain, and stress. At the risk of over simplifying I will venture that when we build muscle we are almost always doing it within an energy efficient framework. Personal trainers have identified a long list of different types of muscle training and "conditioning" each requiring different regimes. But repetition is the key. We seem to be "made" for fatigue, pain, and stress because we adapt to it very easily. Not only that, but in concentrated bursts it seems to improve our mood, and plays a significant social role in mate acquisition and status displays.
The key to power efficient training, is to not trigger this adaptive response! We still use repetition, but our key purpose is to refine a specific feeling and then take that feeling into more lively dynamic movement. That "feeling" is a process of refining signals of awareness which allow us to glimpse or encircle that which has no feeling, true effortlessness.
So we march off into this brave new world with "no limits" on adaptive capacity and with "no limits" imposed by fatigue or heat. Where will this leave us? How soon will we bash up against the new limits? Because they are coming. I'm not an expert or anything but one of the rules of systems theory is that if you speed up or improve the efficiency of just one part of a complex system, you slow the whole system down.
I'm excited by the new possibilities, but I'm concerned that the kind of training I've been doing is drifting further away from the mainstream, not closer. So much for the meeting of East and West. Non-aggression, returning to stillness, and spontaneous naturalness won't disappear because we are the valley floor, but effort and aggression keep finding ways to climb higher.
(hat tip to Geoff)