Video of My Talk on Threat and Performance

A couple of weeks ago I did a talk Parkour Visions, a local gym here in Seattle. (You may recall my recent post of an interview with the co-founder of the gym Rafe Kelly. ) The talk was about the effects of perceived threat on physical performance.

The basic message was that if the central nervous system senses a threat in regard to a certain movement, it will take various protective measures, none of which are desirable from a performance perspective. For example, it might increase stiffness to reduce range of motion; limit muscle contraction to reduce force; limit endurance to prevent local tissue failure; change coordination patterns to protect injuries; or create pain to discourage the movement from happening at all.

The implication is that one great way to increase performance is to reduce perceived threat, because threat might make our movement weak, slow, stiff, uncoordinated and painful. Sounds like everything we try to get rid of when we go to the gym! But of course many people will create excess threat during their workout, which will tend to be counterproductive.

This was the first time I have ever done any public speaking about the topics I discuss on this blog, and, as you can see from the vid, this was a very informal gathering. But I was still a little nervous. I think my first words on video are: "OK, so what I am talking about here?" Ha! Luckily I remembered.

There are a few gaps in the tape, and you can't hear the questions, some of which were quite good (including a few on foam rolling!) Other than that, I think it turned out pretty well and provides a good summary of one of the major themes of this blog.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thanks again to Rafe Kelly and Parkour Visions for letting me talk and taping it!