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  • #23450
    dan135
    Guest

    Hi Ashley, Damian, Bris, Ferg & Co.

    I was just wondering if you could elaborate a little on the following and how to incoroporate it in to a s&c program:

    “Neural system drives the muscular system, not the other way around, so ensure that irrespective of what you are weight training for include phases of neural activation work. This will ensure that you learn to synchronise and recruit a higher proportion of your fast twitch fibres, which after all is where you will make your greatest gains in size, strength and rate of force production”

    I did a little google’ing and found some helpful info on t-nation referring to activation techniques for sometimes dormant muscles such as glutes/tva/vmo. I’m presuming these would be a part of your prehab programs?

    Any information on prehab and what areas to focus on and learn about would be great. I presume you have standard areas that are covered (ie. rotator cuff) in every program in combination with some exercises specific to the individual or is every prehab program individualised?

    Thanks again, the more I’m on this site the luckier I feel to be privvy to all you guys’ knowledge.

    Cheers,

    Dan

    #24969
    dunne10
    Guest

    Thats a real good question. I would also be very interested to hear the response.

    #24960
    bris83
    Guest

    Before all lower body workouts my players go through a simple 3minute dynamic flexibility routine which is made of some of Eric Cressey’s Magnificent Mobility CD and some stuff by Joe Defranco. This focuses on activating the glutes and warming up the hip joint. Before upper workouts we do some band pull aparts and some external rotation work, this tends to concentrate on scapula retraction and shoulder health. This routine is for the ‘core’ of my squad. When we get a new player who has a low training age they will spend a lot more time on this kind of work and would also devote more time to VMO strength through sled pulling, split squat etc., and also lower back and hamstring strength through reverse hypers glute ham raises etc.

    Every pre-hab programme is not invidualised but i group players into 3/4 per group who have similar aims. Obviously if someone has a specific problem area then they would get something specific.

    In my opinion i find that younger players coming through the system have poor hip mobility and virtually no posterior chain strength-this is assuming we dont get to reach them until they join the professional ranks.

    In terms of ‘core’ work I am not a big fan or recruiting your TVA and all of that stuff. I will include abdominal work but my opinion is if someone can squat a lot of weight with good form then their core is strong enough.

    #24959
    ashley
    Guest

    We really just focus on an upper and lower body warm up prior to the
    commencement of lifting, lower body taken primarliy from Cressey’s DVD
    Magnificent Mobility, plus we will add some KB swings and skipping,
    anything specific to the individual is programmed through our Physio,
    ashley

    #24964
    dan135
    Guest

    Ok cheers guys, thanks again

    #24962
    damian
    Guest

    “Neural system drives the muscular system, not the other way around, so ensure that irrespective of what you are weight training for include phases of neural activation work. This will ensure that you learn to synchronise and recruit a higher proportion of your fast twitch fibres, which after all is where you will make your greatest gains in size, strength and rate of force production”

    G’day Dan

    To me that quote is saying that you should work on the neural efficiency of a muscle not just the size. This is the basis for the saying “train movements not muscles”.

    Obviuosly for size you would be using hypertrophy methods which increase lean muscle mass but have less effect on the nervous system (except for beginners where any strength training will see an increase in neural efficiency before any changes are seen in muscle size). For neuromuscular efficiency you would be using maximal weight methods i.e. low reps and heavy weights which increase intramuscular coordination (recruitment, rate coding, synchronisation etc). With these methods you learn how to use your muscles better. This is why a beginner can only recruit approx 60% of muscle fibres but an advanced trainer can recruit at least 85%.

    I don’t believe it is referring to prehab exercises designed to “switch on” muscles which are probably best performed in a rehab or reconditioning phase of training i.e. after injury which has resulted in inhibition of muscle fibres and you are trying to retrain the movement.

    Cheers

    Damian

    #24967
    diehards
    Guest

    Bris 83,

    I am interested in you using split squats and sled pulling for VMO strength.
    Isnt VMO coming on for all quad dominant ex’s??? Does VMO activation improve with these exercises???

    #24961
    bris83
    Guest

    try pulling a sled backwards with heavy load taking short, frequent steps-let me know if you felt it in your VMO?!

    Also the split squat helps to isolate it as well.

    Try them out and see for yourself.

    #24966
    fergus
    Guest

    This is quite a big topic as ‘neural activation’ can be local or general. But it’s very true that the key system in the body is not the muscular system but the nervous system.

    Local ‘neural activation’ simply means ensuring the muscles are capable of maximal recruitment – whether or not it is used or not – Also rather than trying to ‘activate’ a weak or poorly innervated muscle I’d first look at why there is poor innervation in the first place.

    Just on the VMO – VMO isolation is unnecessary in almost every case – unless in a rehab instance. As some one pointed out above the VMO is used in every knee movement – you can’t isolate it fully – even if you did – why would you want to in a healthy athlete? Many coaches and physios think it’s used/activated exclusively at the last 20 – 15 degrees of extension of the knee – this is not the case, it also fires in the initial stages coming out of a low ATG squat or initiating knee extension. Also if it is a rehab case – rather than focusing on ‘weak’ VMO’s exclusively – synergistic glute strength should also be observed for simultaneous work – as in most cases they correspond. VMO strength is overrated – and it can’t be identified with simple visual clues either. Finally, there is a great danger of chrondomalcia patella with rugby players or such and I’ve seen some ridiculous cases of further damage to knees with excessive VMO work – under the mistaken belief that the VMO is weak or can’t be isolated.

    The quote referred to refers to general activation though – not local Dan – as it refers to training phases.
    Basically this is what Damian was saying when he spoke about using maximal loads to refine neural recruitment. It refers to using heavy loads to refine the neural recruitment patterns – this is why some athletes can be very strong at lighter weights.

    Sadly – while lifting heavy weights is the major method – it’s not simply a case of maximal lifts though as there are many other contributing factors too. 😉

    #24965
    dan135
    Guest

    Thanks again for all your replies. Very Helpful 😀

    #24963
    damian
    Guest

    Glad someone got me fergus! Liked the way you put it.

    Cheers

    Damian

    #24968
    greig
    Guest

    Hi all,
    As the saying goes “Long time listener, first time caller” or in this case “First time poster, long time reader”
    With regards, to the concept of neural activation. A coach’s interpretation and application of this concept is dependant upon the outcomes that are trying to be achieved.
    In a prehab setting, I think it is about activating dormant muscles and/or trying to retrain movements.
    In a strength context, I feel it relates to achieving the desired effect ie hypertrophy, strength, power etc. by manipulating the training variables.
    As I said at the start it comes down to the coach and how he wishes to apply it within his program.

    Greig

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