Kinetics is the study of how the brain develops and refines motor control to enable efficient energy application


Every movement we make — from walking to running, jumping, throrwing, kicking, punching, pulling, pushing, lifting, spinning or any other activity — requires intricate communication between the brain and our muscles to generate the necessary forces at the right velocity to enable the most efficient power application to the environment. Our sensory systems guide this communication by providing information about the external environment and then work with the motor system to plan movements and to control the actions that muscles make.The brain and its 100 billion neurons work in designated but plastic and elastic networks that can be re-wired with practice. The brain is incredibly adaptable and consolidating new skills through practice is how the brain learns and optimises body kinetics.


Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything from the memories we form to the emotions we feel and to the movements we make. Upon receiving new information, a nerve cell transmits an electrical signal, triggering the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters at special locations called synapses. These chemicals act as messengers, passing along instructions that switch nearby cells on or off. In increasingly demanding physical activities the nerve signal propagation both synchronises between nerve cells and increases its firing rate so the total flow of signals is increased. Proper training enables the body to adapt with faster and more powerful muscle contractions guided by increased nerve cell myelination (conduction insulation).


In order to support execute the motor code sent from the brain, through the spinal cord and relayed to the muscles, the structure of the body has to in fully operational to carry out the intended movement with the intended power. Our bodies are equipped with a 2-way communication system - from brain to body and from body to brain - embedded in the muscles (called spindles), tendons (called Golgi tendon organs) and in the joint capsules themselves (called free nerve endings e.g. Ruffini fibres). Muscle spindles detect changes in muscle length, Golgi tendon organs detect levels of tension and free nerve endings in joints detect position. All this this information is relayed to the brain allowing the cerebellum and primary motor cortex to adjust and fine-tune the movement.


"A karate punch is like an iron bar. “Whack". A kung fu punch is like an iron chain with an iron ball at the end.. it goes "WHAM"- and it hurts inside!" - Bruce Lee

So what does a quote from Bruce Lee have to do with training for maximal power application? Quite a bit actually. What Bruce Lee understood in his martial arts practice was how to develop effortless power. By integrating his entire body in sequence while staying relaxed, enabled him to explode and move with incredible velocity as he threw a punch or kick. This is the same as when you throw a football, perform a golf swing or swing a baseball bat. The power amplifies from the ground up and with more joints involved in the sequence to translate the power towards the target the higher speed at the end of the chain- just like cracking a whip. Take a look at the video below and notice that movement starts in the feet and ankles and with the right timing it travels through the legs, through the hips, into the torso and from there into the arm and hand constantly accelerating the kettlebell.









Sequencing joints together with the right timing enables the highest power outputs. Power is by definition [Force x Velocity] and represented by the area beneath the graph-curve. By adding more joints to the motion (eg. going from only using the shoulder and arm to using the torso, shoulder and then arm will increase the force applied to the object (i.e. more muscle) and increase traveling velocity. The biggest increases in power comes when the big muscles get to generate force and propel it though the big joints. The object will then have the greatest distance to cover which means that it can accelerate for longer before slowing down. Understanding power generation from this perspective is what is going to enable the highest possible forces with the most amount of muscle but it requires precise 3D motor control of all the joints and strong tendons to transfer the muscle force into the bones at the muscle attachment site. From a performance (and joint health) perspective this kind of training teaches the body about integration which is crucial in most, if not all activities. This does not mean that the full push-press cannot be broken down into its components - that is actually a great way to refine the skill - but the majority of practice must be spent on the full sequence. An additional benefit of training to maximize full body power is the energy requirement. A higher power output is equal to a higher caloric consumption as power is measured in [watts] which is the same as [joules/sec] and 4.2 joules equals 1 calorie. Basically what this means it that if you are looking for body comp change, exercises that delivers the highest power output are the most effective!

Sports Science Education by Dr. Kenneth Jay