Were you ever the victim or perpetrator of slingshot violence? It is amazing that an elastic band, a small pull and a hard object can collaborate to pack a stinging punch. Your body is set up to utilise the same principle to make your actions feel effortless and be powerful.
Power, as defined by the laws of physics, is the rate at which work is done. If I stand up from the chair I am sat in at the moment, that takes a certain amount of work. If I take one second to stand, I am twice as powerful in that act as I would be if I took two seconds to stand up in the same way. Basically, the same act done with the same body faster is more powerful.
Many of us look to improve our power for our chosen sport by doing some sort of activity that promotes speed, strength or a combination of the two. We forget about the slingshot. Think of acts that you associate with power and the likes of throwing, punching, kicking and jumping will come to mind. Take any one of these acts and you will see the slingshot principle in motion. How do you initiate a throw? You pull your arm back before you throw it forward. It's the similar with a punch. Before you kick, you pull your leg back. A jump starts with downwards motion before you push up and off the floor. If you think of your muscles and some of your connective tissue like an array of elastic bands, it immediately makes sense that we would.
Slingshots deliver great power for minimal energy input. We are designed for economical power.
Going back to the standing from sitting scenario, you will notice that there was no pull back before the push up. The power generated in an act like the way most people stand from sitting is purely through work done by the strength of their muscles pushing up the weight of their body. They get no extra help from the elastic properties of their muscles and the slingshot principle.
Creating a stretch in a muscle gets an automatic response from the nervous system that attempts to bring the muscle back to its length. The longer we stretch it, the harder the muscle contracts in attempt to bring itself back. This is how we feel tension in muscles as we stretch them.
The only way our muscles don't work like elastic bands is if we keep them in the stretch position for more than around two seconds. I can pull an elastic band taught for half a second or 10 seconds and it will twang just as hard. Our muscles lose some of their 'twang' if we keep them in that lengthened position for more than a moment. We never pause for more than a split second in reversing the direction of the powerful movements I listed earlier. It appears we unconsciously know about slingshots even if we consciously don't.
Think of how we can make a slingshot more powerful.
- We can use a more dense elastic band. This is kind of what we do to our elastic bands by increasing our strength through resistance training.
- We can pull our bands back further.
- With our special elastic bands where pulling them back slowly or keeping them lengthened lessens elastic energy, the faster we pull them back, the more elastic energy we create.
Many of us are already engaging in good quality strength training and there is a tonne of high quality info out there on it.
At Float Sting where we help you to move smoother so you can strike harder, we are more interested in helping you with the last two points.
Go away and twang back for part two of this blog post to find out more about using your slingshot to devastating effect.