The Three Elements of Physical Autonomy

The Three Elements of Physical Autonomy

If you’ve ever watched a talented athlete and envied their abilities, you know it’s a combination of factors that led to such incredible performances.

But when you start training, you can easily get stuck focusing on just a small piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes, it’s the quest for maximal strength and large muscles or weight loss. Sometimes; it’s the strict adherence to a system of skill progressions that lead towards a particular goal.

Either way, you’ll get stuck unless you address the right combination of abilities.

The truth is that any skill you may want to do with your body is made up of three components: strength, flexibility, and motor control.


Everyone knows that strength is important. It’s the motive force behind any dynamic display of athleticism – and those muscles we all want to show off – but developing only some of your muscles at the expense of others can lead to injury or imbalances.

For real-world movement ability you can rely on, it’s important to develop strength in all directions and even in unusual positions. 

Flexibility & Mobility

You probably don’t need to be able to do the splits, but if you’re unable to get into a position you’d like, greater flexibility is needed. Fewer restrictions in your ranges of motion means you can move with grace and ease.

Though many people like arguing about the semantics of “flexibility” vs “mobility,” the fact is that you need both if you want to perform at your best.


Owning a Ferrari isn’t a lot of fun if you don’t know how to drive it. Control is your ability to direct your body’s capabilities and have it respond like a finely-tuned machine to your needs and wishes.

Developing motor control is a lot like learning to write as a child. It requires patient repetition, and if you try to shortcut the work, you’ll always look sloppy.



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