Movement specificity - what does it mean?


Philip Graham-Smith with Paul Comfort, Paul Jones and Martyn Matthews

When an exercise is described as ‘specific’, there is an assumption that the exercise is ‘functional’ and is therefore transferable to a sports skill. Often the main criteria for ‘specificity’ is that the exercise must follow the same movement pattern at a similar speed. For ‘overload’, exercises often utilise some additional resistance in one form or another, e.g. body weight, free weights, bands or pulleys etc. The focus of such an interpretation is fundamentally on whether the exercise adopts similar ‘force-length’ and force-velocity’ characteristics to a sports skill and is assessed qualitatively on whether the joints appear to operate through similar ranges and planes of motion.

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