In this interactive foray into neuroscience, we will design exercises based on how the nervous system orchestrates motion. You will receive quality, reliable information (including the sources) and tons of practice applying neuroscience to exercises. From how the nervous system moves and controls motion to training your mind while you move, we strategically apply neuroscience to exercises. To delve into these subjects and make the most of this interactive, hands-on experience, we will learn about and apply 7 Principles of Neuromuscular Orchestration (click on the number 1 or go to the bottom of this page to see them)1. Join us and acquire knowledge and skills to create client-specific solutions and design exercises that feel better and produce more satisfying, and lasting results.
Here is a partial list of topics that we will cover:
Learn, explore, apply – We will review the literature related to the 7 Principles and then use them to create new exercises and to enhance the design of squats, crunches, pull-ups, the hundred, dead lifts, stretches, and more.
• We will use wireless sEMG technology to observe how the nervous system recruits muscles for specific exercises and under various exercise conditions. We’ll be able to peer inside to see which muscles are active, when they are active, and how the activity changes when specific variables are applied (time, fatigue, rate of motion, rest, direction of force, etc.). We will us this insight to the refine our strategies for designing exercises and exercise programs.
The motor unit, its function and behavior – “A motor unit is the smallest functional subdivision of a muscle”2. 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 Potentiation3
• 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 performance4 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)5and 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.
With our new neurocentric perspective, we can create hundreds of new exercises! If you have any questions regarding what this class is all about, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. In order to perform an exercise, the nervous system must solve a series of control problems.
Forces applied to the body are generated by exercise equipment, the mass of the limbs and trunk (interacting with gravity and inertial affects), and muscle. The application of these forces to the body create postural and movement challenges that the nervous system must solve in order for the subject to perform a task.
2. The resolution of the nervous system is plastic.
The nervous system’s ability to distinguish the details of the condition, motion, and posture of the body varies according to use, need, and health.
3. The sensitivity of the nervous system is dynamic.
Specific mechanical and/or chemical changes in muscle and connective tissues (including joints) alter the sensitivity of the sensory endings in those tissues.
4. The mobility of the nervous system is key to posture and motion.
The brain stem, spinal cord, and the peripheral nerves lengthen and shorten (without stretching) to achieve postures and to accommodate the motion of the musculoskeletal system.
5. The motor units and muscles recruited by the nervous system to perform a task must produce adequate energy to generate the required tension and/or power.
Muscle cells have multiple processes and sources (aerobic, anaerobic, glucose, creatine phosphate, etc.) for making fuel. Each process and source is favored by specific conditions within the tissues.
6. The nervous system coordinates the cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine responses required to support the activity of the neuromuscular system.
When designing an exercise, we must be mindful of how well (or poorly) the cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine response is supporting the needs of the neuromuscular system.
7. When you are training your body, you are inevitably and inextricably training your mind.
The attitudes and behaviors that are projected and utilized while exercising have significance. The neural networks that are active are being exercised/practiced and therefore reinforced, becoming wired and more efficiently accessed in the brain.↩
De Luca, C. J. (2008). A Practicum on the Use of sEMG Signals in Movement Sciences. Delsys Inc.↩
Power, speed, hypertrophy, range of motion, etc.↩
The confluence of tissues that generate and transmit force from the inside of a myofiber out to and including a bone or aponeurosis↩