The following guide will attempt to explain what exactly is meant by the term “biomechanical efficiency”. Since this is a complex topic that requires far more space than is available here, the guide will be a simplified explanation, broken down into three parts: part one will introduce the evolution of biomechanics in human ancestors, part two will explore mammalian biomechanics (and how mammals came to dominate most ecosystems), and part three will examine how modern human biomechanics have diverged from those of our ancestors.
In its simplest definition, biomechanical efficiency is a measure of blood-flow– areas that are efficient receive and release blood very quickly on demand, whereas inefficient areas show interrupted or stymied flow. By a slightly more expanded definition, efficiency is also a measure of musculoskeletal development, lymphatic flow, and muscle response time. However, what truly determines biomechanical efficiency– and is the biomechanical mesh underlying each of these measures— is the human fascial system. The fascial system feeds and drains blood/ lymph (and thus supplies oxygen/ removes waste), builds tissues, and provides its own muscular action. As such, a measure of biomechanical efficiency is actually a measure of fascial development.
Measuring biomechanical efficiency can be very useful for analyzing, understanding, and predicting the patterns of athletes (particularly NFL players). The best players show high levels of efficiency in fascial areas most relevant to their playing position, while poor efficiency can be predictive of non-contact injuries and/ or ineffective traits.
But in order to understand the human fascial system, we first need to understand its evolution. Beginning with our very first vertebrate ancestors and the common ancestor to all non-insect land animals: