What a great feeling it is to look good and have a great body! As a fitness expert, I see so many people working their muscular system. While it is great to do that you have another system that you should train also: It’s your neuromuscular system.
Yes you can train your neuromuscular system and if you really want improve your performance in sports and even in bodybuilding you should take a look at incorporating some neuromuscular system exercises.
To give you an example, one of my friends aspires to become a pro bodybuilder in the natural federation. My buddy can squat 350 lbs. This is pretty good for a young kid of 23 years of age. He is very strong. The other day we did a legs workout together and after our squat, leg press, stiff dead lift and some leg extension, I took a bosu ball (it’s like a stability ball cut in half) out and started to do some body weight squats on the bosu ball. Can you believe that he was not able to do a good squat with only his bodyweight?! He could not even stand on it. He was in shock!!! I was surprised also. Do you know why he was not able to squat on the bosu ball and keep his balance on it?
The main reason is:
He never train his neuromuscular system.
How many times have you heard of a senior falling down on the street or on the stairs at home and get hurt really bad? Often they break a hip and at this time their quality of life just goes down. What happens is that with age, they don’t train anymore their neuromuscular system. As a result, they don’t have the reflex to counter balance and stay stable; instead they lose balance and fall.
If you want to improve your lifts and want to have a better core you need to train your neuromuscular system. If you do that, you will looking good from the inside to the outside. Life is not only in one plane of motion. You need to be able to move in all direction. When I train my clients we train hard at lifting heavy weights in order to build their lean body mass but I always finish their workouts with a few balance exercises.
Next time you train your hamstring and do some Barbell Stiff Legged Dead Lifts, try to finish with some dumbbell stiff legged dead lifts on 1 leg. You will work your hamstring and your nervous system at the same time. Try some push up on 1 leg on a balance board after your chest workout also. You can introduce in your workout some bosu or Stability ball exercises as well. Also, a great exercise to finish your arms workout is to do few set of biceps curls kneeling on the stability ball.
Now in today’s gym, you can find a diverse variety of training equipment so that you can train using more functional exercises. Incorporating those exercises at the end of your heavy lifting is a great way to introduce neuromuscular system training into your routine.
If nothing else, a good reason to do some balance and nervous system activity after a heavy workout is to help remove the build up of Lactic Acid. This in turn will help you to recover faster from your heavy workouts.
Neuromuscular System Exercises
Here are a few exercises that you can introduce to help to train your neuromuscular system.
Biceps curl on stability ball Squat on balance board
Remember to train your nervous system (balance) you need to be unstable. The nervous system is very easy to train and develops quick fast. You will see after few weeks that you will get a better balance. Try it and in few weeks give me your feedback; I’m sure you will improve your strength at the same time.
Keep Lifting, Stay Fit !!!
Winner of New Year Lean Body Challenge 2008
Martin Bolduc, CPT, ACE, BCRPA