Tensegrity in 3 Levels of Detail

Level 1

When you see the word tensegrity, think tensional balance, quality of engagement, and quantity of myofascia (muscle and connective tissue) engaged through a motion.

In the functional body, muscles “hold hands”

Level 2

When looking at tensional balance we look at your muscles and muscle chains. The functional, pain free body does not move via isolated muscle contractions(think what happens in 90% of traditional lifting), but via force transfer through integrated muscle chains. Think of these chains like actual chains where each muscle is a link in the chain. Now switch the word chain for rubber band and you start to get closer to the elastic recoil nature of human movement.

A lovely, artistic rendering of potential muscle chains, notice half of them are geared toward rotation.

Level 3

The rubber bands in your body run a spectrum of being very connected or disconnected.

When connected: muscle chains work synergistically and thus efficiently produce force. They allow the body to store and release elastic energy which is an essentially calorically free process and given to us by the ingenuity of nature to get close to free energy.

When disconnected: the body is forced to rely more on isolated muscle contractions to accelerate and decelerate the body which leads to tightness because it is less efficient and forces muscles to contract in a fashion that isn’t reciprocated by the connective tissue. If you need proof that isolated muscles contractions comprise the majority of traditional lifting, look no further than the epidemic of chronic pain, tightness, and injury, especially among the devout exercisers. 

A) Connected muscle chains have fascial architecture that has been mechanically aligned through movement and is thus highly resistant to injury, poised to absorb and release force, and readily hydrated. B) Lack of movement and movement diversity will lead to the fascia becoming “felt-like”, and leave it prone to injury, poorly potentiated, and dry/stiff.