The human evolutionary lineage is marked by its unique brain, which has expanded in size by roughly 300% over the last three million years. However, the changes in our brain and behavior follow and build upon the evolution of upright posture and bipedal locomotion that began at least six million years ago. That revolution in locomotion set in motion profound anatomical changes throughout the human postcranial skeleton. These occur not only in the legs and feet, but also in the shoulders, arms, hands, and back. All of these evolutionary skeletal changes have had multiple consequences in changing muscle masses, origins, and insertions. The Physics of Fitness is a rare example of a work on exercise training that is not based on repetition of approaches using stock movements sanctioned by long traditional use. Rather, it is based on an original, informed understanding of the primary function of each muscle. This knowledge then has been used to generate productive resistance curves that maximize the benefit of each given exercise while minimizing injuries that could result from unnecessary joint strain. As an evolutionary biologist I often am told that knowledge of human adaptive change over time is interesting but of no practical use. Now, thanks to Doug Brignole’s book I can say that awareness of our unique long-term human musculoskeletal adaptations can be used to establish the basis for more effective exercise with reduced probability of injury. That’s practical.
Eckhardt, Robert. (2017). Technical Report on The Physics of Fitness. 10.13140/RG.2.2.34680.14082.