Tuesday, March 9, 2010

nerulogical training


This is used to teach the body how to fire harder and or with more control and finesse. The nerves are what tell the muscles how and when to contract.

A muscle fiber contracts at 100% of its capability, how many and when the fibers are recruited is up to the nervous system. The more muscle fibers that are recruited the stronger the muscle can contract. The more times a nerve pathway is utilized the more control or finesse the musculature has.

There are three things that control how hard a muscle can fire.

  1. Training that pathway or neurological
  2. Trunk contraction (which will be discussed in core/trunk)
  3. Receptors
    1. Tendon muscle receptors. We have these receptors in between the tendon and muscle. Where they come together and intertwine is the golgi tendon receptor and they play three significant roles but all of them have to do with damage assessment and getting the desired job done.

i. If you jump of a table and the receptor gets triggered the muscle fires for you, an involuntary contraction that keeps you from collapsing.

ii. If the weight is too great or the load is too great the receptor will tell the body to collapse because the damage will be less. Damage assessment

iii. Similar to two but if you get over stretched your body will let go which its goal is to hope that you don’t get torn and if you do it would be less than if it held on.

    1. Bone receptors

i. We have receptors in our bones that when fired will tell the body whether or not the weight or the load being excerted on the system is too heavy. If it is the muscles will not pick up the weight.

There are also receptors in the hands and feet that if they are not fired will not fire all the leg muscles. This is why running with cushy shoes has not brought down the running injury rate. If these receptors are not triggered you will not be able to move in a fully integrated way. You will be compromised. This is why I don't like gloves or most shoes.

N1 with no fatigue

This is great for everyone. It can be done on a recovery day or a workout day. It is the action of training the nerves pathway. By not going to failure but by trying something really hard it allows the pathway to be strengthened which in turn asks the body to ask for more muscle fibers to be recruited per contraction. This means that without increasing the size of the muscle you can create more output.

It also sets up the body to be more efficient in moving heavy loads.

So an example would be try a one hand one leg (opposite) pushup and try this 2 x on each side 5 to 10 times a day but never to fatigue. If you get to fatigue you have done one too many. This trains the pathway but doesn’t put the body into recovery mode. The brilliant Russian kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsoline calls this GTG or grease the groove. The idea is that you are building the pathway and you will increase output.

I have many clients doing many different movements to train this concept and they can do it on a recovery day.

This is one to do with the very edge of your capacity and only do a few reps throughout the day.

N2 with fatigue

It takes 1000 repetitions to create muscle memory. It takes 10000 to 15000 repetitions to break old muscle memory and create new memory.

N2 is the idea that we train this idea to fatigue but not to system breakdown. This is the idea of doing a movement as many times as you can until right before it gets sloppy. If it gets sloppy that repetition will create a bad movement pattern.

We used to do this in the Marine Corps for marksmanship. We called it snapping in. The downside is that most of the beginners had to do it too long and went to failure or lack of concentration and began creating bad habits.

The rules for this are do it with weight or with an object that is well with in your limits and do as many reps as humanly possible while maintaining good form and focus. Right before form and concentration collapse stop. This is something you can do as a recovery day, do multiple times a day and or do during a workout day.

This not a workout. It is not intended to be a workout. This is not the idea or lightweight lots of reps. That doesn’t do much for making you fit. This is a tool that develops a specific movement pattern it is not the movement pattern.

N3 with failure

This is for elite level performers. I use this for pro athletes or super high functioning athletes and I used it for training snipers in the Marine Corps. The idea is that you take somebody through complete muscle or mental failure and then ask them to do a task that is essential. For snipers it was get behind a rifle and shoot accurately, or use their scope to accurately determine range, for an athlete like a gymnast I will ask them to do a back tuck at the end of being exhausted. Or I would put them on a squishy mat and have them do 25 back tucks and not care if the are able to or not. These elite level performers have already developed great muscle memory and are now demanding that everything work when it doesn’t want to.
An example of this is watching a special operations person under complete physical and mental fatigue, stress and even duress, draw and present a firearm then place 2 well aimed shots on a designated target. This is established by N3.

We want the participant to really focus and get a few of them perfectly. If they have to slow down to do so then great. We also want them do some as fast as they can.

The rules for this are to go to fatigue (extremely hard workout) and then do a required skill. Those skills can include any of the following:




Gross motor skills use the major muscles of the body. Slapping a mosquito versus grabbing her (the mosquito) with chopsticks.

Fine motor skills, are the skills that need hand eye coordination. Threading a needle, text messaging.

Complex motor skills are motor skills that require a list of neurological pathways. Text messaging while driving (welcome to LA), starting a fire.

All of these pathways have to be trained. You can train them all under each one of the training cycles. G(ross)N1, GN2, GN3, FN1 etc.

Example. GN2 as a mixed martial arts fighter, would work on a punch or a kick or take down when fatigued but still able to perform the movement correctly. The same movement trained at the end of a disgustingly hard workout and s/he can barely lift themselves from the floor allow the movement to be ingrained and perfected for all circumstances that that person may encounter.


  1. i really like this post!!! in my opinion the neurological aspect of training is waaaaay undervalued by most of the population - -most have never heard the concept. it's the foundation of good training in any physical discipline. i would love to hear more!!!

  2. 1 hand, opposite leg push-up. sure, I can do that.
    Maybe I should just join the Marine Corps.
    This is not meant to be sarcastic, I am just in awe of my new found inadequacies.
    I guess I either need to get with your program or stop reading it.

  3. hahahahahahahahaha!!! my thoughts and the look on my face EXACTLY when i tried a single arm/leg push up!! INSANE!... actually though Adam, what would be a good set of exercises to do on a neuro day? i've been doing pull ups (5), toe touches (10), bear crawls on railing, tuck ups (attempt 5 & they all suck!) and single arm/leg push up on an incline - - although even then i still can barely lower and keep balance!! should i be alternating with other things? if so what?

  4. a pistol is a good one which is a one legged squat. remember, the idea is to pick something HARD and try it. Scale it, meaning find a way to make it easier. A pistol scaled would look like doing it to a barstool, then a chair, then a curb then all the way down. Just keep trying it and it will get better quickly. I should have a new post up soon.
    have fun