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Optimize Muscle Performance with Nerve Conduction Speed

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Get faster, by training faster. 

Nerve conduction speed is an important part of muscle performance.  The proper implementation of nerve conduction speed training can significantly improve overall athletic development. To optimize nerve conduction in your programming, you must first fully understand the physics behind what it is.

 

 

 

The nerve conduction process begins as an electrochemical signal and results in muscle contraction and the associated force production. The force a muscle produces after nerve conduction is generally measured by the weight of an external object the produced force is able to overcome. As this produced force overcomes the external objects weight it causes the object to move. When the object moves a defined distance we now know not just how much force the muscle produced to cause the motion but also the distance the object moved. This then gives us the definition of work, which is, [work is equal to force times distance]. This measure does not consider time and the same amount of work is done to move an object or one’s center of mass from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ whether it happens quickly or slowly.

Power tells us how fast this motion occurs and is defined as [work divided by time]. When a muscle can produce more force and contract faster, the time needed to move an object from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ decreases and the neuromuscular unit becomes more powerful. Power is important to the human body because we are constantly contracting muscles to accept loads and at the same time to produce motion. When our nerve conduction can no longer keep pace with this process, we stumble against gravitational forces, exponentially increasing our risk of falling.                            

Simply put, nerve conduction speed is related to how quickly the body responds to a neurological stimulus.  Nerve conduction training is essential in athletic programming, but it is also imperative for anyone who is aging, which is everyone!

Everyone -from professional baseball players to their grandmothers- should want to optimize their muscle performance by training their nerve conduction speed.  To improve neuromuscular conduction speeds, individual baselines need to be established.  Follow the guidelines below to determine one’s baseline:

(1). Time Your Baseline

With the use of a metronome or stopwatch, measure the fastest pace in which the 20-rep max of an exercise can be accomplished.  Depending upon the person, it might take 20 seconds or 60 seconds; the baseline (or starting) speed doesn’t matter, so just be accurate with your assessment.

(2). Establish Maximum Power Production

Use the determined baseline (for example, 60 seconds) to set training intensity and program design.  Research has shown that maximum power production occurs at around 50 % of a muscle’s maximum force production. This correlates to the 20 rep max level of resistance for functional motion exercises. Meaning the amount of weight the produced muscle force can move 20 times and no more.  So, set all of your exercises around this formula and your resistance baselines for programming will be accurately set.

(3).  Incorporate Weekly Over-Speed Training

Conditioning neuromuscular conduction speed involves effort, but, over time, the 20 repetition max speed established during baseline testing will improve.  Incorporate nerve conduction speed training into your programming through “Over-Speed” exercises.  Over-Speed exercises are exercise repetitions performed at an accelerated, or exaggerated pace. Typically, they are done with the assistance of a band on the Luedeka Body Weight Trainer. Over-Speed exercises can be added in 1 x per week for optimal results and can be performed in any functional movement sequence (upper or lower body exercises).

(4). Reassess for Progress

 Reassess progress on a monthly basis.  Make sure to use the same baseline guides, so for example, if you chose to use push-ups as your baseline exercise, always reassess using push-ups. You should see significant development and progress each time you reassess.  

(5). Continue Over-Speed Training

Keep Over-Speed training in your programming repertoire. 

This incorporation of nerve conduction training will optimize muscle performance for clients of any ability or age, so start Over-Speed training today!  For more ideas of Over-Speed exercises, check out more info on the Luedeka Body Weight Trainer on our webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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David Luedeka DPT, CSCS, a practicing physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist, is the founder and creator of CKC Fitness System.

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Guest Sunday, 17 December 2017

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