What is Tensegrity?.. you are.

What is Tensegrity?.. You are.

Tensegrity is a term coined by architect Buckminster Fuller. This word comes from two words, tensional integrity. Sculptor Kenneth Snelson also plays a big part, having constructed the first of the structures commonly known today as Tensegrity models. These structures will give us a great insight into the interconnectedness in the body. They make invisible forces visible.

You could also call Tensegrity discontinuous compression. Tensegrity allows for stress (compression) to be distributed uniformly throughout a structure through an interconnectedness of tension and compression elements. In many models wooden dowels simulate compression elements and elastic bands simulate tension elements. In the body, bones are the compression pieces with muscles and fascia as tension elements.

As the compression elements weigh down, the tension elements suspend them in place relative to each other. 

The other model, that of continuous compression (C.C.M.) would mean that all the weight would be transmitted directly downward with the lower part of the structure carrying the weight of everything above it. Most structures we are familiar with are continuous compression structures like buildings or our houses.

Biology regularly defies this idea of continuous compression. Larger animals like dinosaurs or elephants would collapse under their own weight. Circulation and digestion would be impossible. The compression of joining cells together would be too much relative to their size.

In the Tensegrity model, stresses which might be potentially damaging can be safely dispersed throughout the structure. Since the structure is given form by a closed system of tensions, it always has a certain baseline tension. We can call this pre-stress. The closed nature and balance allow the dynamics to operate the same no matter what position.

This allows for much greater resilience per pound. Parts of the structure can also change form and return to the original position easily thanks to the pre-stress which is also potential energy.  To an extent, tensegrity structures can absorb forces and rebound them using elastic energy storage.

Have a look at the tensegrity model vs continuous compression model in terms of the stress strain curve.

Tensegrity Structure can handle more strain and experience less stress under the same pressure when compared to the C.C.M. Even with zero strain (external force) a Tensegrity Structure will still be under a mechanical stress, the natural baseline tension of the structure itself.. 

Think about a human being in space, there is still the internal tension of the Muscles and Fascia holding the compression pieces like bones, safely in place. Even under zero external force in space, the human form holds its integrity as a Tensegrity Structure.

When a human is in space long enough, the environmental factors present on Earth creating greater bone density and density of connective tissue are removed. The result is decreased bone density and connective tissue density.

This is an extreme example of a process which is always in play, Connective Tissue Remodeling. The Tensegrity pieces in the body are always being remodeled according to the stresses of the environment. This can be good news or bad news for the body, depending on what environment we are remodeling to..

Understanding the body as a Tensegrity structure is a major step in the evolution of our training and holds answers to recovering balance and energy to a structure which is compromised for any variety of reasons.. By taking advantage of Connective Tissue Remodeling and creating a great environment for our cells in terms of the above factors, we can become #freakishlyhealthy

It’s all in the details.. # tune into boring # train intentionally not habitually

Published by Primal Fitness Project

Hello and welcome to the Primal Fitness Project. I’m a Personal Trainer with a deep interest in the body/mind. I believe it’s coming to light there is much more overlap between body and mind; physiology and psychology. In the context of evolution, the conditions we are experiencing are quite new and surprisingly unpleasant to our genetics. Major environmental conditions like lighting, temperature, food and stress are having negative impacts on our genetic expression. Negative impacts on our very human blueprint. I’m not suggesting we run off into the woods or abandon the progress that benefits us. I am suggesting that we begin to ask questions about where our culture has lost balance with the human blueprint. In an industry oriented purely the physical and worse still, dominated by dissection mentality. Disconnecting the body instead of training it as a whole. Isolating muscle groups is being shown to have negative impacts on our Fascia, the organ of form which integrates all systems of the body. The rates of injury and degeneration are fire alarms signaling our straying from the path. This BIG! It means we are unintentionally limiting ourselves in the quality of our movement and psychology. On top of that there are the environmental challenges of diet, distraction and sleep. It’s fair to say we’ve hit a low point in health and happiness with the epidemic of diseases both mental and physical. This space represents our resurgence. We’re building a community conscious of these challenges and prepared to take action back towards balance. Our weapons are information and practice. Here you will find information from people looking to empower you to take control of the six major points in our Hexagon of Health: Mentality, Movement, Breath, Sleep, Nutrition and Community. Let us put this information into practice and become stronger together.

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