Neurological Training: Enhanced Performance
What is Neurological Training?
Neurological training is when we focus on the nervous system to get the desired result we are looking for, as opposed to looking at every issue as just a musculoskeletal or biomechanics issue, whether the goal is eliminating pain or improving performance.
The reality is that all training is neurological; we generally don’t think of it that way. For example, running, biking, lifting weights, hiking, or playing any sport requires the nervous system. But the typical biomechanical approach blames the tissues and the joints for whatever issue (i.e., pain, poor movement patterns, weakness, stiffness, etc.).
We look at every client who comes into the clinic through the lens of their nervous system, whether they are coming in for pain or are a high-level athlete looking to improve their performance.
“If you ain’t assessing, you’re guessing!”
3 Big Concepts to better understand Neurological Training
Big Concept #1: The nervous system is the governing system of the body. It runs everything - pain, performance, strength, stamina, fitness, etc. ALL depend on the nervous system. The KEY POINT: Biomechanics (strength, flexibility, speed, and movement) obey and respond to the nervous system, not vice versa.
Big Concept #2: The brain’s #1 job is survival, NOT performance. Any perceived threat causes our brain to apply the brakes on our system. Those brakes result in stiffness, weakness, pain, stress/anxiety, fatigue, etc. “Threat” is more than just physical injuries; it can also be dysfunctional patterns you have developed over time. The KEY POINT: Performance is a gift your brain gives you when it feels good about everything.
Big Concept #3: The input to the brain determines the output we see and feel. Strength, speed, stamina, flexibility, and coordinated, pain-free movement are all outputs from the nervous system, but so is pain, weakness, stiffness, etc. KEY POINT: We need to change the input or improve the processing to get a better output.
The Benefits of Neurological Training for Enhanced Performance
The primary benefits of Neurological Training are better, faster, and more long-lasting results because we are addressing the nervous system, the fastest system in the body!
Although we hate the term “bio-hack,” essentially, this is what Neurological Training is because we are affecting the inputs to the system that are causing the dysfunctions such as pain, poor movement patterns, stiffness, weakness, etc.
Benefit 1: We can easily assess if a particular exercise or drill is proper for you. We don’t want just to assume a specific drill or exercise is going to be good for you; we want to KNOW it is good for you! As the saying goes, “If you ain’t assessing, you’re guessing!”
Benefit 2: Most Neurological Training drills we teach are easy and require little to no equipment. This allows you to get many repetitions to make the change possible. It takes repetition to create a long-lasting structural change. Therefore, we want to ensure you can easily replicate the drills and exercises for the best results.
Benefit 3: You get to understand the drivers of the dysfunction better, whether it is a pain, poor movement patterns, stiffness, etc. One of the comments we most often hear from clients is, “No one ever told me that before!”. We believe in empowering our clients and giving you a “toolbox” to fix your issues yourself!
One of the easiest ways to change neurological input is sensory input, which can come in many variations. This is why tools like hot or cold packs, kinesiology tape, vibration tools, floss bands, TENS units, etc., have become so popular in recent years. But the reality is that not all tools work the same for all people.
A common tool a lot more folks have these days are percussion guns. These tools can be fantastic, but we would make a couple of recommendations:
Don’t just use it to “massage” muscles by digging in as hard as possible; try barely touching the skin to get a vibration input rather than the percussion/pressure input. Sometimes just the vibration input is better than deep pressure for some folks.
While it is nice to be able to sit on the couch and apply the percussion tool, try doing it while you are moving the target area/musculature. Remember, the brain is receiving more input about the area you are working on while you are applying the percussion or vibration, so that is a great time to move the area to improve the motor output from the brain!
If you are interested in learning how to use Neurological training to optimize your fitness or get out of pain, give us a call and schedule an appointment!
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