Creating and Transferring Momentum

During MoveSMART® training it’s important to remind people to use momentum to make work easier. The principle is that once an object is in motion – has momentum, it takes less energy and strain to keep it going than it did to start it in the first place. Often the focus is on the momentum of the object.

In the MoveSMART® approach, momentum doesn’t start when the object begins to move. Momentum starts with your body and then is transferred to the object that is being moved. In our Advancing MoveSMART® training module we call this motion The Swoop. Whether you’re pushing, pulling, lifting, hammering, or sawing, the simple idea is to start the action with your body and then apply that to the object, which then “inherits” your body’s momentum. Demonstrate the principle by modeling personal momentum while doing, or mimic doing, some tasks that are actually performed by your group.

So called “cold start” momentum is stressful because it creates an abrupt jolt when a body, if rigid, works to move an object that is rigid. Creating momentum first in the body reduces the pressure of such tasks.

Here in Portland, our former NBA all-star Clyde “The Glide” Drexler was noted for making his play look easy because he was so smooth. He got the most out of his already very athletic body because he knew how to create internal momentum in every aspect of his game. You may have some local “smooth” athletes you could use as your examples.

Encourage your participants to see themselves as athletes, and to create “smooth” internal momentum as they handle their regular tasks. Doing tasks smoothly, without jerky movements, puts them more in control – and can also reduce injuries stemming from abruptly moving past their current limits.

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