The secret you've probably never heard about when lifting weights. What's Torque?
As Wikipedia states... In physics and mechanics, torque is the rotational equivalent of linear force. It is also referred to as the moment of force, rotational force or turning effect. Just as a linear force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist to an object around a specific axis. Another definition of torque is the product of the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance of the line of action of a force from the axis of rotation.
So, basically torque is force that is generated through rotation. Whether it be internal or external.
Think about it how machines use torque to move heavy duty equipment. Helicopters, trucks and boats, these machines are able to generate forces far greater than you can imagine. So can we apply this to training? We can, and the more torque we apply the more power we can generate.
So how can we create torque with the human body?
Ever heard of someone say, "break the bar" when you're going for a bench press or pull up? "Hips forward, knees out" when you're going for a squat? If not I am going to help you to understand and get a feel for what torque is.
Here's what I want you to do. I want you to stand up, have your feet facing 12o'clock and try and externally rotate your hips as if you are screwing yourself into the floor. (Don't move the position of your feet, keep them flat) You'll notice that your glutes start to contract, you'll find yourself squeezing them and pushing your hips forward. Keeping that tension now try and go into your squat.
I want you to now put your arm out in front of you, the palm of your hand is probably facing the floor. From there I want you to pull your shoulder back. Imagine that there's something in-between your shoulder blades and you're trying to hold it there by squeezing your shoulder blades together. From here I want you to externally rotate your shoulders as if you were to open a door knob. notice your elbow pits rotate up and face the ceiling? Once you have understood this movement, I want you to take it to the floor.
Position yourself in a plank with your wrists stacked right onto of your shoulders. Have your hands shoulder width distance apart facing 12o'clock. Apply the same screwing mechanism that you did with your squat. Externally rotate your arm, Notice your elbow pits are now facing forwards? Bring yourself down slowly into a push up keeping the tension. Notice that your elbows are close to your body and are not flaring out? If its hard it means you are probably doing it right.
If you can't do it, chances are you were probably doing a push up incorrectly or in a less efficient way.
You should notice how different your body feels when moving while you are applying torque, your muscles will feel engaged, switched on and the movement may seem to become 'effortless'.
Torque is created through our shoulders and our hips, this is because these are the two ball and socket joints that meet our axial skeleton. Once we create torque in the joint capsule it enables us to generate huge forces and power through our large muscle groups in a very energy saving, efficient way and it also enables us to stabilize our bodies and helps to reduce any risks of injury.
It's pretty much as simple as that! Below are a few videos I have found to help give you a visual to this blog. I Highly recommend that you watch them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfG0ykuWbnM - Loaded hip stability and torque
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgffrcv1yko - Torque though internal and external rotation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjbvf0P0bas - Finding Torque