FNS1: Principles of Human Motion

FNS1 focuses on how the activity of the nervous system1, stimulated by exercise, is related to changes in the behavior and structure of muscle, vascular, connective tissues2, and the nervous system itself. This 2-day exploration provides a foundation for strategically enhancing the design, progression, and cueing of exercise. Participants will have ample opportunity for hands-on application of the material. Additionally, leading edge technology will be used in class to observe the activity of the neuromusculoskeletal continuum during various exercise scenarios (Delsys Trigno Wireless EMG, Delsys EMGworks Software, Halo Sport).

Click here for scheduling and registration information.

Here’s what we will cover.

The motor unit, its function and behavior – “A motor unit is the smallest functional subdivision of a muscle”3. As such, the motor unit is the basis for understanding several aspects of muscle function and adaptation.
• The neurological control of muscle tension
• What happens neurologically as muscles fatigue
• How motor units and the nervous system adapt to consistent exercise
• Post-Activation Potentiation4

• Motor unit activity related to increases in strength, hypertrophy, endurance, and skill.

Optimal Performance: the known mechanisms that influence the activity of a motor unit – To train for optimal performance5 or to have ideas as to why performance is sub-par, understanding the inputs that influence motor unit activity is critical. Some of the inputs to the motor unit can be adjusted to enhance performance, while others act to strategically down regulate the activity of a motor unit.
• The full story on reciprocal inhibition: it is not a law, only an opportunity
• The direct and indirect input from various areas of the brain and spinal cord to the motor unit
• The direct and indirect input from various sensory receptors to the motor unit
• Conditions that change the input and therefore excitability of the motor unit.
• Neurogenic inflammation

Light vs heavy loads to failure – From a neuromusculoskeletal perspective, delineate the differences between going to failure using a light load vs a heavy load. Use this insight to expand exercise and exercise program design.

Sensation, proprioception, and limb position acquisition – How the nervous system detects the physical characteristics of an exercise and how it recruits the necessary muscle groups, at the right time, and with the right amount of force.

The neurological and metabolic demands of concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle contractions – We look into the relative amounts of nervous system activity and metabolic activity of motor units during each phase of a contraction. This information is key to goal, experience, and control based customization of the tempo of the concentric, eccentric, and isometric phases of a muscle group’s contraction.

Passive stretching – Passive stretching has been roundly ridiculed and labeled as a useless, if not dangerous, force application. But is it, really? We will explore the structure of the Contractile Connective Tissue Continuum (CCTC)6and observe that this tissue is not uniform in its composition or function throughout the body. For example the CCTC composition of the achilles tendon and the gastrocnemius are structurally and functionally different that the CCTC of the patellar tendon and the vastus intermedius. As a result, the force applications (like passive stretching) applied to one joint may be inappropriate for another.

Variability in the architecture of the muscle, connective tissue, and the number and types sensory receptors in joints of the body. Understanding the structural and therefore functional differences between the CCTC that surround different joints (hip vs ankle, for example) can also lead to a refinement of the design, volume, and intensity of an exercise. Therefore, exercise design, volume, and intensity can be specific to the body part, as well as to the individual.

Sound Interesting? Click here for scheduling and registration information.

  1. Brain, spinal cord, motor neurons, sensory receptors in connective tissue and muscle, etc.

  2. Bone, cartilage, fascia, fat, joint capsules, ligaments, tendons

  3. De Luca, C. J. (2008). A Practicum on the Use of sEMG Signals in Movement Sciences. Delsys Inc.

  4. Here’s a link to an article about Post-Activation Potentiation.

  5. Power, speed, hypertrophy, range of motion, etc.

  6. The confluence of tissues that generate and transmit force from the inside of a myofiber out to and including a bone or aponeurosis