T Nation

CNS Efficiency and Destabilization

Hello all,

A fellow trainer and I were having a discussion on this topic this morning. How much, if any, is central nervous system efficiency (ability to recruit motor units, etc.) increased by training in a destabilized environment? Some NASM resistance training protocols advocate the use of of unstable-to-stable supersets, with the idea that the CNS will recruit more muscle when challenged in this way.

I’m not referring to “balance” training or simply challenging the “core” musculature more, I’m talking about actually having a significant impact on the CNS’s ability to recruit more muscle fibers in the primary exercise, whatever that might be. For example–one thing I see trainers here doing is having their clients first lunge onto a stability disc, then supersetting that with squats (sadly, usually on a Smith machine).

Have there been any studies to support or validate this theory? If so, where could I find them? Any trainers/coaches out there have their clientele train like this? I suppose I would expect PL’ers to use techniques like this if it truly helped CNS efficiency.

I disagree wholeheartedly. Enhancing neuromuscular efficiency is pattern specific. Firing patterns are altered significantly under these circumstances, and I’d be willing to bet that they’re justifying these measures based on results with untrained and/or clinical populations.

Think of it this way. You can use post-activation potentiation and you do a heavy set of deadlifts to improve your performance on a subsequent set of broad jumps (see CW’s article on this a while back). Now, are those deadlifts going to do much to improve performance on a set of plyo pushups?

Thanks for the feedback Eric, I appreciate it!

Hey eric I just wanted your view on something. I just did a deadlift comp 2 weeks ago and then did a BB show the saturday after. This week I am taking the week off from lifting since I have been going hard for a while.

My question is regarding a deadlift meet I am doing in 3 weeks. I was wondering how you would train the next three weeks to get ready for the meet and what your thoughts on my situation. Thanks

You’re at the point where you can do a lot of harm, but not much good. I wouldn’t take any pulls over 80% from here on out. Speed work in the 40-60% range would be your best bet, and the last week should be a deload.

[quote]mike hanley wrote:
Hey eric I just wanted your view on something. I just did a deadlift comp 2 weeks ago and then did a BB show the saturday after. This week I am taking the week off from lifting since I have been going hard for a while.

My question is regarding a deadlift meet I am doing in 3 weeks. I was wondering how you would train the next three weeks to get ready for the meet and what your thoughts on my situation. Thanks [/quote]