In part one (read that here if you haven't) established that slingshots are a simple, powerful weapon and we've talked about how you are designed with a vast array of slingshots within you to make you ultra-efficient and designed for power.
Let's talk a little about how to maximise your usage of what you are using the slingshot principle. Aside from increasing the density of the band on a slingshot, which in a muscular sense is comparable to strengthening your muscles, you can pull the band back further to increase the power you produce.
In us, this equates to using our joints through greater ranges of motion. For simplicity, we will start with an example of one joint – the joint that allows us to close the angle between our foot and shin (dorsiflexion) and open the angle (plantarflexion), the talocrural joint (TCJ). As we walk, run, jump and do many other things, this joint is one of many that helps us absorb shock and propel ourselves in our desired direction. I will use common language to continue so that nobody gets lost in terminology.
As we absorb shock from our contact with the floor, the ankle bends, closing the angle between the foot and shin. This lengthens the muscles at the back of our lower leg – the calf. The more the ankle bends, the more the calf stretches and the more elastic energy builds up. At a point, the joint stops moving and the muscle stops stretching. This is the slingshot pulled back. The elastic energy then effortlessly shortens the calf and helps the foot push off the floor. Think about how much elastic energy is lost if the ankle can only bend half as much. It becomes much harder to propel yourself if you aren't using your joints to their full potential. Basically, get loose and you will be more powerful.
I also presented the idea that the rate of loading of the slingshot in us changes the power we can produce. With the ankle example, bending the ankle faster will load the calve faster which will cause a more powerful twang than a slower bending done to the same angle.
How can we load our muscles faster? Mobility is once again an ease way to do improve this aspect of slingshotting. Think of the foot against the floor and the ankle bending. Given the same body and gravity staying constant, the only way to speed up the bending is by removing the barriers to gravity. The only barrier to gravity in this example is the tension exerted by the muscles that decelerate the bend; the calve. Loose calves will allow a faster descent than tighter calves do over the same distance.
In both cases, mobility will improve your elasticity and the power of your slingshots.
Watch out for an upcoming post on mobility and moving smoother and if you haven't already, subscribe on the front page of the site to be the first to get the upcoming report on how training can limit your sporting progress for subscribers only.