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 Post subject: Establishing Neuromuscular Efficiency
 Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2011 5:32 pm 
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Establishing Neuromuscular Efficiency
By: Judith Paul, Athletic Performance Assistant

Understanding the way the neuromuscular system learns and develops is vital to successful training of athletes at any age. Motor learning occurs when there are changes in the internal processes that determine a person’s capability for producing a motor task. Initially every task learned is very cognitive. This means that new tasks are slow, very though-out, often talked through, and will often look and feel awkward. This is because the neuromuscular system doesn’t recognize any of the movements and it must constantly check to ensure the movement occurring matches the individual’s perception of how the movement should occur. The body has receptors that detect joint angle, limb position, speed of contraction and much more. When a novel movement occurs these receptors constantly send messages back to the CNS to make sure the body is moving the way it is supposed to. As an individual practices movements, a motor program develops. This means the body’s receptors recognize a movement, and have a program that tells the neuromuscular system when, where, and how to fire next. In this way, movements become more automatic, faster, more accurate, and more efficient.

Neuromuscular efficiency is a term used to describe how once a motor program is in place, the neuromuscular system can execute the movement with ease. When a movement varies from the program, the degree to which it varies is inversely correlated with the efficiency of the movement. The variance in movements can range from differences in force production, speed, joint angles, limb position and more. The greater the variances that exist will result in a greater taxation of the nervous system. This is because when a movement differs from a motor program, the neuromuscular system has to return to a state of error detection and correction.

An understanding of this concept is necessary when training athletes because if the movement patterns they experience in competition differ from those they experience in training, it requires more of their nervous system and can greatly affect their competitive capabilities. For this reason, it is extremely beneficial for athletes to train with movements that are specific to their sport, because it creates movement patterns that are much more efficient in competition. It takes some extra effort on the part of coaches and trainers, to consider what movements in training are the most effective to their individual athletes. Here at EAA, we are committed to developing our athletes to be the best they can be. That means we strive to take the time do develop programs where we first establish the necessary strength base for each athlete, and then train them specifically for the ranges of movement, forces, and velocities they will encounter in competition.

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SHAWN MYSZKA, CSCS*D, SPS, CPS
Athletic Performance Director
Explosive Edge Athletics


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 Post subject: Re: Establishing Neuromuscular Efficiency
 Post Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 5:26 pm 
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You were talking about the fact that when a given motor program is called upon, the magnitude with which the nervous system is called upon to perform that movement is based on the efficiency of the movement. Does that mean that something as simple as a different type of kick (i.e., the difference between taking a shot with a soccer ball and punting an American football) could result in either a greater or lesser taxing of the nervous system depending on which type of kick the athlete has been trained to perform? I hope I made the question clear.


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 Post subject: Re: Establishing Neuromuscular Efficiency
 Post Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:09 pm 
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Great question, thanks for asking! Yes, kicking a soccer ball and punting a football, although similar, require slightly different motor programs. If you've trained for soccer, punting a football will be less neuromuscularly efficient than kicking a soccer ball. However, since the movements are so similar there is some crossover, which explains why some soccer players can punt and kick field goals so well. They've developed neuromuscular programs that are very similar the movement required to kick a football, making their movement more efficient then someone who's never trained a kicking motion. The more closely related a movement is to the motor program, the less taxing it will be on the nervous system. I hope that answers your question!


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