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"The anatomy tells a story!” - The tissues respond to specific demands and force profiles!

Updated: Apr 14

The story Nadia Comăneci tells through this picture about her anatomy is amazing. Observing the hip flexor area (which seems to be more of the Tensor Fasciae Latae), you can see how she developed new tissue fibers to better handle the unique force profiles acting on those tissues over time and for her sport-specific demands. Nadia Comăneci, a renowned Romanian gymnast known worldwide for her Olympic achievements and world records, is an exceptional example of this adaptation.

Is it possible for the hip flexor area to resemble six-pack abdominal muscles when we know the muscle bundles typically run straight down, north-south not east-west as in the picture?

It is possible if we stop looking at muscles only from a macroscopic perspective. By observing them at a micro level, we understand:

- Muscles are not isolated from their surroundings; they are not independent actuators for movement. There is a relationship between muscles of one compartment and another in terms of force conduction.

- Force transmission occurs along different and various pathways: intramuscular, intermuscular, and extramuscular.

- Joint positions influence force transmission, and other structures like connective tissue are involved in force transmission, not only red muscle fibers.

- Measuring force production of a muscle from one tendon to another results in unequal forces.

Of course, within a muscle, we have thousands of muscle fibers, each with tendons at their extremities. The reason Nadia developed these "squared" hip flexors was to sustain the extreme short-range hip flexion and time under tension, adapting to shorter muscle fiber lengths divided by additional stiffer white connective tissue deposition while simultaneously changing the muscle fiber type to slow-twitch.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the human species has had to build or unbuild anatomy based on lifestyle and physical demands at a given time. Currently, it seems that we have stopped providing our bodies with the necessary movement variety our ancestors experienced, leading to the unbuilding of anatomy.

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