Chad Waterbury recently stated (and I’ve heard it said elsewhere):
“You can only recruit your entire muscle fiber pool if you’re in a life-or-death situation.”
I remember reading Hatfield’s explanation for this in his book “Power: A Scientific Approach” years ago. He mentioned that scientists weren’t completely sure as to what gave certain people such incredible strength in the face of perilous circumstances. The leading hypothesis was:
“Somehow, the golgi tendon organ’s inhibitory message was prevented from ever completing its loop back to the muscle. Somewhere, there’s a built-in scrambler operating outside the realm of immediate or voluntary functioning. Panic brought it to the surface.”
Is this still the leading hypothesis? Has anything else been uncovered? What, specifically, caused the scrambling and can it be controlled to any extent, perhaps with hypnosis, meditation, or other brain methods?
Hatfield also goes on to describe some “deinhibition training” methods consisting of ballistic lifts not unlike oscillatory isometrics and reactive movements. His rationale, however, is that:
“Carefully controlled application of jerky movements against your tendons will make them respond by growing thicker. If your tendon is thicker, its tensile strength is increased. If its tensile strength is greater, it’ll take more tension to set off the inhibitory signal.”
Is there any validity to that statement (especially the last portion)?
Pavel also wrote about disinhibition training in “Power to the People.” Basically, it was isometric exercise and a “feed-forward tension” technique that involved maximally tensing your muscles to lift a relatively light weight (almost faking as if it were remarkably heavy). This was supposed to condition the nervous system and GTO to not pull the plug prematurely upon encountering difficult resistance. Does anyone have any experience utilizing this technique?
As a sidenote, I’d be curious as to whether or not individuals have severely injured themselves in these life-or-death situations. When the GTO’s message is lost, have people torn muscles at insertion points or just generally wrecked their bodies without these safety boundaries? How come this super-strength doesn’t happen for everyone?
I’ve been fascinated by this topic ever since I watched the Incredible Hulk as a young boy. In that series premiere, Banner was unable to summon this strength and so lost his woman in a car fire. That was the impetus for him to study this phenomenon. I’m somewhat surprised more hasn’t been written about these events.
It seems they’re proof of an enormous resource of untapped potential. If only we could find a way to cultivate it with more consistency…and without the prerequisite of hellish drama.