When it comes to our overall health and fitness, it’s important that we do all that we can to ensure that we’re as healthy and as well protected as we can possibly be. Take bodybuilding and weight training for instance. Some people seem to think that in order to build muscle, you simply need to walk into a gym and workout for several hours at a time, before repeating the entire process all over again the next day. The truth is that training in this manner is no beneficial or healthy in the slightest, as you’re basically destroying tiny muscle fibers when you exercise, and aren’t giving them enough time for the body to recover and rebuild them even bigger and stronger than they were previously. In bodybuilding, rest and recovery is every bit as important as actually training, in fact, possibly even more so. You may be surprised to hear however, that as well as resting your muscles, your central nervous system also needs a good rest to allow you to properly bulk up and enhance your physiques.
How Can the Central Nervous System (CNS) Help Build Muscle?
The central nervous system is a crucial part of your actual nervous system, consisting of both the spinal cord, and the brain, with the two being connected to one another. The central nervous system is responsible for close to every activity we perform on a daily basis. Each and every one of you reading this for example, are doing so thanks to the CNS sending impulses and messages to your eyes, allowing them to read the words, before sending more back to our brains, allowing them to actually decipher what each word means. These messages are sent to all major organs and body parts, and take literally tiny fractions of a second to be sent and deciphered. Not surprisingly then, the CNS is also responsible for telling each one of your muscles how to function whenever you pick an object up, including a set of dumbbells or a barbell. There are several ways in which it can help. Including:
Activating Motor Units – Motor units are found within our muscles that actually activate a number of muscle fibers responsible for allowing the muscle to contract and actually work.
Helping to Enhance ‘Rate Coding’ – Rate Coding basically refers to however many motor units can become activity whenever a muscle contracts. The stronger a CNS is, the more motor units will be activated and the more efficient a muscle will be. People with large levels of rate coding are generally considered to be better athletes as their muscles are able to deliver faster, more explosive movements than regular people.
Improved Levels of Coordination – Whenever you lift any form of weight, be it in a gym or around the house, certain levels of coordination are required. There are two basic forms of coordination, inter, and intra – muscle coordination. The higher the levels of both of these forms of coordination are within a person, the more weight they’ll therefore be able to lift as not only will you be generating more force out of every muscle within your body, but you’ll also be able to generate a greater force output as well, as all of your muscles will be working together with one another extremely efficiently.
Improved Muscle Synchronization – As well as being able to generate more force and power thanks to a fully functioning CNS, another key benefit is the fact that lifters can actually utilise specific fast-twitch muscle fibers at will, this is known as muscle synchronization. Most of these muscle fibers are normally selected based on a typical basis of smallest to largest. Lifters with well developed, fully functioning CNS’s however, can utilise fibers of any size, at will. This in turn means a lifter can generate more strength at a much faster rate than somebody with an underperforming CNS.
Although the four examples listed above sound pretty complex, the CNS actually helps the muscles to function at their highest capacity, within a matter of milliseconds. The four examples laid out above work in tandem with one another, to allow the muscles to work at their absolute highest capacity before fatiguing. This means that the harder they can work, and for the longer periods of time, the more efficient a person will be in the gym. The CNS is just as important as your muscles, in fact, even more so, and it can become stressed and overworked with prolonged bouts of physical training and exercise. Just like the muscles, it too needs a break in order to recover from time to time, which is why rest days off from training and so, so beneficial. Think of rest days as allowing your body the chance to recharge its battery, with your CNS taking on the role of the actual battery itself. A couple of days off from training every week can do wonders for your CNS, which in turn will do wonders for your actual body itself. With so many facets of bodybuilding and physiques sport that are required to be optimized for success, it is easy for us to forget some of the fundamentals, but the nervous system is literally the center of everything we do.