Manthropology – To Survive or To Perform, What Matters Most?

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

It’s interesting that as we endeavor to work so hard that we often forget that we as a group of creatures our wired to survive, more so than to perform. Take for example the many reflexes in our body that occur because of our need to survive. For example, the Arthrokinetic Reflex, which basically means that a Jammed Joint causes Muscle Weakness, Inflexibility, and/or Pain and that surrounding tissues actually weaken to actually hamper any movement that may result in such. Here a fellow trainer, Z-Health Master Trainer, Mike T. Nelson, speaks more about how this reflex actually works.

Another reflex is based on our eye movement, in which specific eye directions relate to increases in strength in certain muscles and decreases in strength in others. For example: Looking up (Eye Extension) causes all the Extensor muscles to be stronger than “normal.” Looking down (Eye Flexion) causes all the Flexion muscles to be stronger than “normal.” So forth and so on…for differing direction. Read on Reflexes, which is an article by Dr. Eric Cobb on how to use your reflexes for you, rather than against you and go into more detail about Eye Positions.

Main highlights of the article is that primitive man was much more adept than we are in terms of performance, based on anthropological remains.

It’s interesting to note that it’s true the body cares more about survival than performance, but in this article about the Wimpy Man, John Mehaffey, writes how modern man is a much weaker specimen than our supposed primitive counterparts. Supposedly based on anthropological remains the sporting prowess of man yesteryear is much better than the elites of our day and that we are overall plain WIMPS!

And You Thought You Were Awesome?

It’s an argument nonetheless that may hold some interest in how this may effect our athletic performance to this day. For example, rather than saying this may be a highly improbable idea what can we theorize based on the idea that this may actually be true.

One main theory I believe may be going on is that their performance may hinder on their survival and of course the fact that the entire day is a training day vs only the 4-8 hours that many Elite level athletes train. Also many of these ancient men and women devoted their entire lives to running, hunting, and jumping with the idea of “deliberate practice” vs. “non-deliberate practice” – basically practice with intention that in many studies proves that it promotes a much better result. Practice doesn’t make Perfect, Perfect practice does.

The Luxury of Rest...and this is Kobe

Also, people may argue that primitive men were hunting and gathering specialists and didn’t need to devote a bulk of their energy towards their intellectual capacity unlike what a modern man’s brain consumes. But, if you really think about their training and our brain consumption, does that necessarily mean that their hunting and gathering capacity should have been as good as it was – should they have been good at running, jumping, spear-throwing, weapon-making, etc.? or do we not fully understand the training effect in terms of multiple endeavors and could this be a reason why Crossfit style training MAY work? Basically, are we misjudging the idea of how much we need to specialize and also the amount of recovery we really need as we get more and more into our training years?

I am not advocating Crossfit style training, rather questioning the common beliefs we hold so dear today. What could all this mean in our training future if we learn how to actually shift our Nervous System’s paradigm to understand that our training can increase our survival and somehow than unlock our true performance capabilities.  We will further dwelve into this topic, as I continue my research.

Continue down the rabbit hole,
Darryl Lardizabal, Z-Health Exercise Therapy Specialist (R,I,T)


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demo of arthrokinetic reflex


[…] brains our hardwired for survival, a concept we referred back to in my first post here. And it is this survival need that actually limits our inherent abilities by a supposed 50% of our […]

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