Torque simply means rotational force. Simple, yet complicated, yet simple. LOL! Our body is a system of levers that move in all different directions. Your hip and shoulder joints are ball and socket joints so they can move in all directions. Think, “loosey goosey”. We have to generate torque in these loosey goosey joints in order to stabilize them. Because the hips and shoulders are our primary lower body and upper body moving joints, we want them to be stable. Increased stability in these joints decreases pressure/tension/strain on the joint itself and the tendons/ligaments and shifts focus onto the surrounding musculature to support the joint. This is a much safer and stable option – and less wear and tear on the joint and tendons/ligaments. How do we do this?
We create torque in these joints by rotating the foot or hand. When I ask you to externally rotate or press your feet outward in a squat, you are creating torque in that hip joint. You are making your glutes support the pelvis rather than the tendons/ligaments. It also lines up your bones in a more efficient manner so you can move optimally. When I ask you to turn your hands out and make your elbow crease point forward in the plank, push up, deadlift, mountain climber, etc, you are creating torque in that shoulder joint. Thus, your deltoid muscles are supporting the joint rather than all those little tendons/ligaments. MUCH safer for your unstable shoulder!
Let’s put it all together and practice. . .
- Bracing stabilizes your spine
- Load sequencing requires bending at the biggest joint first as your primary mover
- Generating torque stabilizes the joints
Taken together with the bracing sequence, load sequencing, and torque generation – your body WILL work optimally, with less pain, more range of motion, and last longer! It is a lot to think about all at the same time, but we can practice. 🙂
*I have oversimplified the concept of torque so that it is understandable and applicable to what we do in class. You can generate torque in many different situations, and differently, but I’m just focusing on our primary movers.