What You Were Taught About the Human Muscle Anatomy That Was Wrong!

Posted on January 3, 2022 Michael Hughes

Hey coaches and athletes, I hate to say this, but more than likely the way that you learn human muscle anatomy is incomplete. I’m gonna tell you why.

Hey, my name is Michael Hughes, co founder of Janaza, and fellow of applied functional science. And I learned over the past decade that human muscle anatomy and the way that it’s taught traditionally, through universities through textbooks, is just a fraction of what’s really going on. And these inconsistencies in education are not serving your training and conditioning, or your clients programming and progression very well. I’m going to deep dive on how we view and how the human anatomy should be viewed in its full spectrum approach in three dimensions, and how it can be applied to actual physics of movement, and human potential. I’m going to dive in and explore especially how one particular muscle group is really being Miss top. So get ready to dive in learn a lot about how human body works in application to daily life, I’m excited to share with you the problem starts with how we’re taught human anatomy. And the traditional textbooks and the university systems and the professional learning environments that we’re in, are all coming from the same understanding is that the human body, it’s the way that it’s been taught is from a dead person, it’s laying down on a table, it’s a cadaver. And when they first started to understand how the movements of the body happened via the muscles connection to the bones, they pulled on someone who’s laying down either prone or supine, or on their stomach or on their back. And they said, Wow, if I pull on this muscle, look what happens. And that is the biggest issue that we have to understand and come to grips with that. That’s not how the muscles really, really work the vast majority of the time. Well, how do the muscles work, the vast majority of the time? Well, just as I am now, standing upright, I’m alive. I’m not on a table, I’m being influenced by real life physics, a few of them, well, gravity, it’s forcing me down into the ground. But the cool thing is, I have this opposing force, it’s called ground reaction forces, it’s pushing me back up. And what allows me to move and groove is essentially the mass of my body, and the momentum that comes with this mass moving. That’s not how textbooks teach muscle anatomy. And that is, again,

I’m going to say it again and again, why we are not training our bodies that well, or training our clients programming, or their movement that well. So let’s unpack especially the hamstring, because that’s something that is super, super understood at least, what I thought it was and has to where it starts, where it goes and how it moves the bones around it. So when we unpack an example, like the hamstrings, the way that I was taught is that the hamstrings essentially do one major major job, they flex the knee, and they extend the hip. And those two motions, I’ve seen been taught just the way that I just talked about it over and over again. But that is such, again, a limited scope of what they do. And here’s why it doesn’t just do that. And in fact, the hamstrings don’t do just what I just did in function that much at all least not in that limited range. And the hamstrings don’t just extend the hip from a neutral to a posterior or backwards position in that range that much. And that is only one dimension of movement, that would be called the sagittal plane or the forward and back plane. The hamstrings, if you take a look at them, actually have this oblique type of attachment point, they start at the sit bone of the pelvis, and they work their way down to either side of the tibia and fibia. They crossed not only the hip joint, but the knee joint. And if you look from their attachment, they all share a common starting point. And then they bifurcate or they split they fork and they go in three different endpoints. And if you look at how they actually split, right that obliquity to them, that curvature to them, it really looks like they affect a two other planes of motion significantly. And that would be the side to side plane or the frontal plane. And if you really follow those fibers and how they work and they move, they spiral in and around and that for that way they move is the effect of the transverse plane or the turning or rotational plane. And that is the biggest piece that was missing from my training for years and once I understood this it unlocked not only more performance, but huge recovery, restoration and therapeutics for knee, lower back ankle pain that my clients really had this problem with. And I now have had a whole different way of viewing it. And therefore problem solving or reverse engineering, their biomechanics, to give them the life and movement that they really, really wanted. So if we think about going back how I was taught, right, flexing the knee extending of the hip, and you look at all the exercise equipment that’s been developed, and been essentially sold over the millions of dollars, and our health clubs today, you see the hamstring crow machine, right, there’s two ways that that that’s been done one from a seated position, or one from a prone position or laying on your stomach position. And it really teaches the hamstrings to do that to flex out the knee, right, from seated down again, I’m extended, and I bring that heel back underneath me. And then if I’m laying on my stomach, and I really bring that bar on my ankle and bring it back towards me, it definitely strengthens my hamstrings without a question that is true. But what it’s teaching my hamstring to do, is to be strong in isolation, not in contact with this ground that my foot interfaces with, every single time that I move, at least the vast majority of our athletes, swimmers I get it’s different. I get those muscles that are different, but the vast majority of us our foot is touching the ground. And the biggest problem with that is that when the hamstrings are taught in an open space, right, or we call an open chain, the nerves that move with that muscle are also trained to be effective that way. So let’s say you can do a hamstring curl, I don’t know, 150 pounds, right, you got this beefy hamstring.

What is missing is how the foot contacts the ground is like this, is like this, and is like that. And the hamstring therefore affects its angle of tension differently when our foot is on the ground. And we’re striding through to go sprint or to climb some stairs or hike up a mountain. And the hamstring says wait a minute, this is not the same as me laying prone or me sitting in a chair and bringing my heel back. It’s just not the software and the hardware are not compatible in that way. So we have to start training the hamstring in the way that it’s designed to be used in contact with the ground. So how do you do that with a traditional pulley based machine? I’m sorry, guys, you can’t, it just can’t be done in the way that you would want to have your clients or your body move the most effectively and result in as little injury as possible. When you see these athletes on the fields, and they tear their hamstring sprinting in a track or whatever the case is, like, Well, how would that happen? These are immensely qualified, super, super trained athletes. Why are they tearing their hamstring muscle? Why is that much stress being distributed there. And they’re being essentially a fault happening? Because I honestly believe they’re doing traditional lifting technology, right? They’re using that technology that has been developed in the 50s and 60s, to train your hamstring, and hamstring st guys, that’s just not how I play the game, I need to have that foot in contact, I need to have this torso in this pelvis being influenced by the physics that I’m being asked to do, as I’m making my max effort. And that disconnect is again going back to how we were taught on how these muscles work. So let’s dive into look at how these hamstrings work right. And let’s just dive into look at how that hamstring actually is. First of all, the hamstring is not one thing, it’s three things but it’s really not three things. It’s hundreds of 1000s if not millions of things. The muscle is broken into essentially human hair like structures. A muscle cell, a muscle, one piece of actual muscle strand looks like a human hair if not smaller than human hair. And it’s really just bundled together into this tight, woven, little compact unit. And that unit has the ability to not only fire one of those human hairs if you want to look at it that way a one of those muscle cells or all 100,000 of them. And that’s how dynamically awesome human body is. And so when we think about the subtleties of how the foot strikes the ground or the subtleties of how the bodies positioned in space, or rotated or extended. All those simple little motions, the hamster says, I feel that and I know the difference. But if again, you only taught me to float and to move and have strength, without those little subtle differences applied. And you may be really strong in those zones, it’s not going to suit you very, very well. Because when you need it the most, it just says, I haven’t been trained there. I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s the software of your body talking to the hardware saying, again, just not compatible yet. I really hope that I can do it, I’ll try my best. But if I fail, yeah, I can’t be blamed. I’m sorry. That’s what the human body’s telling us.

So what do we do about it? Well, if you look again, at how the hamstrings come from the pelvis, and wrap around to the lateral and anterior parts of the knee, you would see that the hamstrings really, certainly bring the leg backwards right underneath us behind us. But they really have this amazing kerning effect. Because if you would take that lateral hamstring and fire it more so then the medial hamstring, you would get bone rotation. And the true statement also affects the opposite side, if you fire that medial hamstring a little bit more that lateral hamstring, you get rotation in the opposite way. And that makes the hamstring muscles phenomenal rotators of the pelvis, because it helps plant and turn. And there’s no training conditions that I’ve seen in the traditional sense, that shows that or can demonstrate that to its effect that that running back that that hiker that everyday mom needs, I just haven’t seen it yet, at least not in the traditional sense. And then if you look at how they really fan out to the right and to the left, and if you really think about how that lateral hamstring attaches to the outside of that knee. And if it really would pull those fibers that really have that left to right approach. If they would fire more than the inside ones how that would draw the knee into what we would call a various position or if those medial hamstrings would fire a little bit more of those, those particular fibers that had that left to right orientation. If they’re FAI, how that would cause more of a valgus or a knee going in field is like, Wow, do I really train my hamstrings to do that? Or do I avoid that at all costs. And that’s another problem that I’d see. We don’t want to avoid movement, that would particularly save us from getting injured. If we just train those hamstrings to be just a straight forward and backwards machine, then they’re going to be super good at being a forward and backwards machine. But what happens when you don’t move that way, or your body is forced to move a separate way? Again, they have to be trained exactly how they want to be used. So I want to encourage you to think about how are you training your hamstrings, your clients hamstrings are you always having them float off the ground as they the foot is an open space, or is the foot in contact with the ground. And if it is in contact with ground good, you’re training your proprioceptive nerves to understand how the rest of its neighbors play along with the hamstring. But if you’re doing that are you only allowing the bones around to move in a very dominant forward and backwards or up and down motion. And if you are, then I want you to explore that there are two other massive movement patterns that you have to start putting your clients in, in a progressive manner. And that is a very important step. It’s so important that you start to have these turns in these twists. And these left’s and these rights applied through movement, because the entire body is essentially being trained through its own neural network right through its own kind of AI software, as I like to look at it to say like, Oh,

I see that there’s new case study here, this is new opportunity, where I can influence my friends below me in the TIB fib the foot and ankle and my friends above me, the pelvis and the lumbar spine and etc. And you see how the hamstrings is just not one thing. But there again, hundreds of 1000s if not more things and the implication of how you would want to again propel the body forward. And therefore how you would want to stretch those muscles and how you would want to mobilize those muscles all has to come into the same thought process. I need to have physics be present. I need to have real world physics be present if I want to optimally train those connective tissues. So that means when I stretch, should I lay on my back and put a strap and pull my leg back? I would say no. That’s not the best way to do it. In fact that is one of the worst ways to do it. Should you not do it? No, that’s not the case. It certainly has some benefit. But I don’t like to just have some benefit, I want to have the most amount of benefit with my time. Because I can only train it relatively one hour per day, you can only train your clients whether to the one hour per day. So do you just want to get some of it, or you want to get the best value you possibly can. So having your foot in contact with the ground, or having at least your knee in contact with the ground, and having your upper body in open space that’s being affected by the physics of our real world is going to suit your hamstrings in such a more incredible way that you will see gains that are well beyond what you’ve ever thought about. Because again, your scope has now been added in to not just a one D, but a two D but a three D spectrum. And with that, it’s like playing Super Mario Brothers on your Nintendo. And then well if you’ve ever did that before, and then go into like this virtual reality, right? You’re like, oh, my gosh, this is what’s possible. And like, Yes, this is what’s possible. So with that, if you want to think like this, if you want to have this kind of concept of what I’ve been talking about this multi dimensionality, about our human anatomy, we’ve developed a course to have trainers think about movement in a whole different way. It’s not really having one methodology, but collecting all the methodologies of advanced movement science, of biological science, and behavioral science and thinking about it in a way that’s applicable to your training and conditioning. Today, I want you to come in check this out. And if you like this content, press the like button it massively helps out this YouTube channel and helps more people see content just like this. Get Michael Hughes which of nozzle hoping to push your mindset hoping to open up the eyes a little bit more to see what the human body is really capable of. And therefore applying that to your athletes or to yourself as an athlete. Talk to you soon.

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