Chapter 6The history of muscle movement control is analogous to the children's history of the three bears.The moral of that story is that things shouldn't be too hot or too cold but should be "okay." Thesame rule applies to muscle action. Too much or too little force compromises control ofmovement. In the words of the futurist Alvin Toffler, "overcontrol is as dangerous as undercontrol" (1990, p. 463). Sometimes generating too much force can be as detrimental toperformance as not producing enough force,Too much conscious thought can compromise the effectiveness of movement, a principlesometimes jokingly referred to as "analysis paralysis." In certain situations, such as moments ofdeath or when a person is under the influence of certain drugs, humans can develop much moremuscle strength than is used in typical maximum effort. But for security reasons and due to therisk of muscle injury, this force is not always voluntary.Controlling even the simplest joint movement generally requires the cooperative action ofseveral muscles working together as a single unit. This cooperative action is called musclesynergy. Several concepts of muscle function are important in understanding how musclescooperate and compete to control movement:Agonists. Muscles that actively produce or control a single joint movement or maintain asingle joint position are called agonists. In most movements, various muscles act togetheras agonists, with some playing a bigger role than others ...
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