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Training is all about the Nervous System

Charlie Francis coached Ben Johnson. He was a training genius and his approach was all about the nervous system.

Charlie Francis coached Ben Johnson. He was a training genius and his approach was all about the nervous system.

The top strength and conditioning guys and therapists will always talk about the nervous system.  This was a definite theme at the Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group Conference I went to in 2013 and 2014.  The nervous system governs everything.  Think of the nervous system as the physical expression of the brain.  Our ability to move to express our strength, agility and coordination is related to the nervous system.

The nervous system allows us to perform incredible physical feats.  As we develop the right way of training, our bodies will begin to better without even thought.  This primal system is a part of every living creature on the planet.  Every specie's survival depends on how well they can access their nervous system to run, fly or swim to hunt or evade predators.


We don't have these primal problems as much but we train our nervous system to get the most out of our bodies.  We train our nervous system to be strong, fast, agile and to perform.  We express our nervous system through barbells, kettlebells or moving our bodies.  Our ability to perform incredible feats with these implements are all thanks to the nervous system.

Our nervous system is about how fast we send out the electrical signal to perform an action.  The more we practice a movement our body will adapt so that we can do that movement pattern again.   The nervous system talks directly to the hormonal system to help our bodies acheive these incredible feats.  The hormonal system tells our muscles to get bigger and bones to get stronger.  As this happens our nerves can access certain movement patterns better.   As the car gets bigger and the engine works more efficiently we increase our performance.

In future articles I will dive deep into training the nervous system and more importantly its recovery.  How you train your nervous system has an important effect on how you perform.   Think of your nervous system as dog and training as obedience school.  

How we train the dog will be directly related to how it responds.  The actions of the dog (our nervous system) under stress (a training task) will reflect in its training.  So let's endeavour to be a super dog.  A super dog has fun when training, is focused on quality just as much as quantity and wants to perform well for his master.  The master is our brain and our motivation to be better.

Look forward to a future article where I will talk about cool ways we can objectively measure the recovery.  This tool is called Heart Rate Variability (HrV).

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