what it is and why it matters


Continuous Tension Around Localized Compression

The Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci in about 1490. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius.

The great Renasissance master, Leonardo, saught to create a geometrical ideal for the human body with his “Vitruvian Man,” originally known as Le proporzioni del corpo umano secondo Vitruvio.

Our modern understanding of this “ideal” might be best described geometrically as a balance between tension and integrity. Hence the term, tensegrity.

Our fascial system is also known as the organ of form which means that it acts like an anti-gravity tissue, resisting forces (gravity) through integrated tension often referred to as tensegrity.

Because our muscles and fascia are deeply intertwined many muscles actually attach to or originate from our fascia.

This means that as we contract our muscles, we create tension throughout our fascial system.


How the Body Manages the Balance Between Tension and Compression…


From Thomas Myer’s book, Anatomy Trains: “There are two ways to support something in this physical universe – via tension or compression; brace it up or hang it up. No structure is utterly based on one or the other; all structures mix and match these two forces in varying ways at different times.”

In the case of the human body, it is simultaneously “simpler and also more complex: our myofasciae provide a continuous network of restricting but adjustable tension around the individual bones and cartilage as well as the incompressible fluid balloons of organs and muscles, which push out against this restricting tensile membrane.”

In the video below, I share a biotensegrity tetrehedron I put together to demonstrate how our bodies truly function, and thus why it’s so important to integrate and train in a holistic way…

The take-home message is: We aren’t an individual body part. We’re holistic organisms and should train with this in mind.

Consider every part of your body as being part of a whole. Train with this in mind: holistically.