Intro Series – Part 4: What is Muscular Movement and How Does It Work?

The Intro Series

When you are done with the Intro Series…

Continue learning with the Palmer Method Study Plan.

Below is a very rough transcription of the video.

Muscular movement is a term that Palmer used in his book, The Palmer Method of Business Writing, to describe the type of arm movement that he insisted students use when writing.

The whole point of writing with the arm is that it allows you to write quickly, legibly, and without fatigue for long periods of time. This was especially important in 1890 when Palmer was teaching penmanship as the typewriter was not in wide use. All record keeping and correspondence was done by hand, therefore businesses needed employees that could write quickly, legibly, and without fatigue.

Today, arm movement is primarily sought after by students because they have to take a lot of notes, perhaps for a college class, and they are trying to write without pain, which the Palmer Method will help you achieve. Others develop arm movement in their writing for artistic purposes, they like the visual aesthetic it produces. It allows you to create graceful, smooth lines and widely spaced writing that has that traditional look to it. Let’s take a quick look at what muscular movement actually looks like.

I’ll first write the word “mine” with my fingers. As I’m writing this, you can see my fingers and hand moving the pen, and I can feel the tension in my hand as I use the muscles in my hand to control the pen. You can also see the writing is relatively slow, restricted, and more likely to be compressed horizontally due to the fact that I can only cover so much space with the hand before I have to reposition it or the paper.

Now I’ll write the word “mine” using muscular movement. As I’m writing this, you can see that my fingers and hand essentially don’t move at all. They are only there to lightly grip the pen and there is very little tension in the hand. Instead, the arm is driving the writing, which creates higher pen speed, a more free movement which allows me to put more space between the letters.

Ok, so that is what muscular movement looks like. In the next video, I’ll go into the details of posture, grip, and position for writing with muscular movement, just like Palmer taught over 100 years ago.