Training Versus Performance

In the gym, making the work more difficult enhances the effectiveness of your training. You've seen how lifting heavy helps build muscular strength and size. But in competition, you want maximal performance with minimal effort. That's where you have to work your mind as well as your muscles, as shown in a study published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

Scientists examined the biomechanics of competitive rowers to determine optimal oar design. While a larger blade surface allows for greater power, you'd think that a longer oar length would help rowers gain the most from every pull. The opposite turned out to be true. Shortening the oars let rowers improve propelling forces without increased effort, a fact proven with record breaking times.

The Bigger Picture: When you hear trainers talk about the importance of form during exercise, think about the biomechanical study discussed here. If the rower's coaches didn't put any thought into designing the optimal tools for their task, international records would not have been broken. Whether you're a competitive athlete or just trying to build a fitter physique, giving considerable thought to exercise form, nutrition and recovery will pay great dividends in the long run. Need help? Start with the training videos at
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