The bliss of motor abundance! Or: why we aren’t robots and therefore shouldn’t train like one.

Latash, Mark L. 2012. “The Bliss (not the Problem) of Motor Abundance (not Redundancy).” Experimental Brain Research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Experimentation Cerebrale 217 (1): 1–5.

Over the past decade, dozens of publications have provided support for this view that our movement system is built upon “good variance”, or motor variability, which helps to deal with secondary tasks and unexpected perturbations. Not really unimportant when it comes to sports, right?
So many researchers can confirm (or let’s say, not falsify) that our movement system always has more than one solution to one specific task. Even when it comes to a straightforward task like picking up a pencil from the ground: repeat it for 100 times and no repetition will be precisely the same. Nikolai Bernstein summed it up beautifully with “Repetition without repetition.” Isn’t that groovy?

And, did you know that after an injury occurred and in the case of chronic pain motor variability is significantly reduced (#1, #2, #3)?

Furthermore, there is a lot of data supporting the claim that the apparently redundant design of the human neuromotor system is not a source of computational problems for the central nervous system. Motor control is not a subfield of engineering “trying to decipher software in the brain that has to control the poorly designed body plagued with the hosts of complex interactions among body parts and between the body and the environment.”

Let us consider these essential insights when it comes to our training and exercise paradigms:

”We are blessed with abundance;
so, let us not waste time trying to eliminate it.”

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