Neural adaptations play a significant role in the early stages of fitness training. This is one of the reasons why you see big improvements/gains in someone just starting out on a fitness program. As your body becomes more accustomed to the demands, progress is harder to achieve and comes in small increments, rather than large jumps. Exercises with complicated movement patterns should be practiced early on in the training sessions before the body starts to fatigue.
Strength and sports performance depends not only on the quantity and quality of the involved muscles, but also upon the ability of the nervous system to appropriately activate the muscles. Strength training may cause adaptive changes within the nervous system that allow a trainee to more fully activate prime movers (the muscle most responsible for movement) in specific movements and to better coordinate the activation of all relevant muscles, thereby effecting a greater net force in the intended direction of movement.
Straight out of my C.S.C.S textbook, “Muscle fibers are innervated by motor neurons that transmit impulses in the form of electrochemical signals from the spinal cord to muscle”. This demonstrates the nervous systems crucial role in adaptations to any kind of strength training. Also, “the sensorimotor, processing, and contextual demands of training tasks should correspond to the target activity in order to maximize the acquisition, retention, and transfer of motor skills”.
- Intro: Why I Love Olympic Lifts (and why you should too)
- Olympic Lifts Part 1 – Rate of Force Production
- Olympic Lifts Part 2 – Kinetic Synchronization
- Olympic Lifts Part 3 – Neural Recruitment
- Conclusion – Olympic Lifting