T Nation

Neurotype Questions


Coach - Just watched your thib army vids and re-read your neurotype articles. Epic stuff, really.

A few q’s:

  1. Neurotype permeability - Does neurotype dominance change when personality or lifestyle (which in turn changes personality) changes? Does neurotype change when a certain training is emphasized (i.e. a 2b type thinks 1a style of training is the best and does it for months/years…does he effectively become 2b?)

  2. The type 3 video got me thinking about marathon runners and many finance/business (analytical) types. They all tend to be skinny fattish and love to run marathons (some of that may be 2a people pleaser/social strutting behavior) and are great at planning and must feel the need to be in control. They also would be caught dead if they ever did snatch grip high pulls or 3 reps lol!

Coincidentally, being in tokyo now, Japanese culture trains everyone to be more reserved and, at least in public, all steer away from “alpha” type 1a/1b or even people pleasing/chariasmatic 2a/2b behavior. And aside from a few golds gym types, everyone generally uses very light weight and high reps. And majority men are small/less muscular (at least vs. western guys).

Would changing cultural cues (think south america, Brazil people are much more expressive, extroverted and i think generally more muscular bodies) and personality (goign from loser to winner, beta to alpha, or vice versa) affect neurotype -> hormones -> physiology?

I just thought this was very amusing. Physiologically, I am less muscular here than back when i was in california lol

  1. How can we really tell if a neurotype is not working for us? Vs. just adapating or even ignoring the negative consequences?
    For me as example, I have gone from grinding, heavy pin lifts (1a style) to explosive/stretch reflex (1b style) to mix/match like layers (2a) to more bodbuilding stufff/squeeze (2b) and all of them have worked for me. I would say if I were motivated I could stick to any of these for awhile and not really feel “burned out”, though the very high rep stuff might bore me after awhile. I am looking at your GVT adapted to neurotype article and i can tell the 1a, 1b and 2a templates all are quite appealing to me (1a perhaps most so, but I don’t know if that’s actually my neurotype or just what I prefer if that makes sense)…

Grip test? Morning brain fog/sleep etc., general health indicators? What should we look for to see warning signs that a certain training might not fit our neurotype and therefore exceed our recovery capacity?

  1. Neurotype and phenotypical expressoin -> do certain physiques/movement/gaits correspond with neurotypes? Silly enough, depending on my mood/how I posture or pose or move around, it actually impacts my perofrmance and preference for the workout at hand (music/environment effects this). Do 1a/1b tend to have the best “tone” because of their neuro? Do 3a’s tend to be the most ectromphic and 2bs most “Mesomorphic” structure? Curious about neurotype & phenotype connection.

  2. Interestingly, neurocharge workouts are all primarily explsoive (1b type) and that was recommended as a way to rechrage neural batteries for all types. Curious why 2a/2b and 3 for example, would not use a neural chatge workout more fitting their neurotype (maybe bodyweight constant tension, yoga or martial arts for variety, etc)

Thank you. And look fwd to the cert courses…


For your neurotype to change you would need to change brain chemistry. It can happen, but normally it is not long lasting. For example when you are under a lot of stress or dieting down hard (especially low carbs) your serotonin can go down which can make your profile “move to the right” (I’m a 2A and under stress or hen dieting I become more of a 2B). But changes to the left (e.g. 2A becoming 1B) are very rarely long lasting… they normally last a a day or two at the most when you are in a state of eurphoria or super high adrenaline.

BUT that doesn’t change your nature…your nature is more a function of receptor sensitivity than level of neurotransmitters. So if you deplete serotonin for example you will lose your capacity to efficiently deal with anxiety and stress but it doesn’t change your nature; only the level of neurotransmitters and you will come back to normal if you elevate serotonin. To permanently change your neurotype you would need to change receptor sensitivity.

That’s why the longer (and further) you are away from your true nature, the worst you feel and function. It’s like your brain wants to function a certain way but it doesn’t have the tools to do it.


Type 3 have a naturally higher dopamine levels and lower serotonin. This means that they don’t seek out “excitement” (which raises dopamine) because their brain doesn’t need it. They don’t get bored when things are repetitive (for the same reason). And the low serotonin makes them more anxious (serotonin helps you deal with anxiety by reducing neuronal activity… calming your brain). For that reason they feel the need to over-plan everything… it’s a protective mechanism to reduce anxiety. It’s also the reason they tend to be skinny-fat: they are constantly anxious, which raises cortisol. This makes it hard to build muscle and in the long run can make you fatter (chronic cortisol elevation can decrease metabolic rate by inhibiting T4 to T3 conversion) and make you more insulin resistant. The low serotonin also makes it much harder to get to sleep and we all know how poor sleep affects progress.


Your psychological profile is about 70% neurotype/brain chemistry and 30% learned behavior/socialization. This can actually creates tons if inner stress.

I have an Asian client. He is a type 1B. Competitive, built for explosiveness, somewhat risk taker. BUT he was brought up in a traditional Chinese environment which is more “Type 3-like”. As such he had a type 3 programing and type 1B nature. This creates A LOT of inner stress because you are constantly suppressing your true nature. Everytime you make a decision there is a subconscious battle between nature and programing. This can really take its toll.

Can environment affect hormones? Maybe … some research indicate that prisoners tend to have higher testosterone levels than the general population. BUT is it the milieu that increased testosterone (survival mechanism) OR the fast that they had a higher testo leves predisposed them to risk-taking or violent behavior which got them into prison. The debate is still going on.

One thing I can say is that if you put 6 mice in a cage, 2 will end up being dominant, 2 will be submissive, 1 will be independent, 1 will be a scapegoat… Put 6 dominant mice in the same cage, they will fight all night and at the end you will have 2 dominant, 2 submissive, 1 Independent, 1 scapegoat. Change the numbers, the ratios will still hold.

Same thing with human beings. So someone might be “normal” in Brazil but an alpha in Japan. Depending on where you are at, your social role might change. But here’s the thing: if you are not programmed for that role, it will impose an inner stress on you which will hurt your well-being and performance. I’ll give you an example. The Montreal Canadians (hockey team) name Max Pacioretty as captain. He was a start player. But ever since they named him captain his performance got worse and worse. He is likely a type 2A… someone with good overall skills and capacity, but not a leader. A very good “second in command” but not a leader (2A are people pleasers, they have low self-esteem and are great at mimicking/acting and take on the personality of the most influencial person in their circle. They hate making decisions. So if you put them in the lead they are lost).

Same thing if you build a team from only star players and natural leaders. close to 2/3rd of the players will under perform and become frustrated. Why? Because they will have to assume a role that is against their nature.


You just described 2A to a “T”.

Everything works, nothing works for long

They rarely PHYSICALLY overtrain. They can handle A LOT of volume. BUT they easily become mentally fatigued if they always do the same thing. And they will exhibit the same symptoms as overtraining. That’s why they need to change training every 2-3 weeks.

Don’t use my old neurotyping article as an example. It is outdated and I posted it too soon. The material has evolved a lot since then.

The best a 2A should do is:

ACCUMULATION PHASE: Train like a 2B (2-3 weeks)
INTENSIFICATION PHASE: Train like a 1A (2-3 weeks)
REALIZATION PHASE: Train like a 1B (2-3 weeks)

BTW type 2As are mimickers… they are easily seduced by training programs done by people they admire. Which is what you do. You look at a physique you like and want to train like he does. Type 2As have a low level of self-esteem and they need the approval, respect and affection of others to build their own self-esteem. The strategy 2As use is mimicking people… “I’m mimicking you so that you will like me because we are alike and have a connection”. They are also name droppers, but that’s another story.


Types 1A and 1B have a higher level of self-confidence. Their posture, movement, look, handshake will reflect that (in my certification program I have a whole chapter on that). Generally speaking more confidence = more relaxed. More relaxed = smoother, larger gestures.

Low confidence = higher tension = shorter more choppy gestures

Types 2A and 2B have a lower level of self-confidence and are self-conscious. They also based their own feeling of self-worth based on how others perceive them.

Type 3 can be both be they are more introverted.


That’s because you are a 2A.

I am too. That’s why I’m always hard on you. You make all the mistakes I made an have the same behavior and I had/have and that I always wanted to get rid of

We are mimickers.

We are empowered by external factors. Heck, if I wear the same shirt Klokov is wearing I will actually move a lot like him and train harder.


Type 1B get the most out of traditional neural charge workouts
Type 2A also benefit greatly IF you don’t do them too often
Type 1A benefit a bit from the original NCW but now I recommend the same principle but with overcoming isometrics instead of explosive work. So 3-4 overcomining iso exercises, NOT as a circuit, for 6 seconds all-out, 3-4 sets each.
Type 2B will not benefit from neural charge much… instead they might do better with some very low stress mind-muscle connection work with bands
Type 3 will have a negative return from NCW as it will increase their anxiety (anxiety is excessive neural activity)


UC.T., on your continuum, what makes a 2A more like a 1B than a 1A? Or put another way, why are 1Bs between 1As and 2As rather than 1As in the middle?

Also are there 1Bs who are not particularly explosive because of biomechanical factors like muscle insertions and limb length?

Are the 5 types evenly distributed or are there more of certain types?

If you get a type 1A who is strong but not explosive, shouldn’t they do SOMETHING to become more explosive for performance sake? Like a 1A using a program like starting strength, with some power cleans included.

Is the distribution different among women than men?

Do 2As tend to prefer to train publically because they crave social affirmation or in private because they are self conscious?


For me as a 2A it depends on the exercises i will do.

When I do exercises I am really good at and I think I will impress the others then its hard
for me to stop my workout. Motiviation is really high (maybe too high) and I will invest all my power into this workout. And the more people who see me the better.

But when i will have to learn new exercises / train technique I prefer to be alone so i couldn’t ‘disappoint’ some one… if someone saw me fail at an exercise the whole workout might be ruined and I need a lot of energy to motivate me for the rest of the workout.


I have also read that as people age, or if you they chronically use stimulants that they can become progressively and permanently desensitized to noradrenaline requiring more noradrenaline to feel mentally and physically aroused (like taking a beta blocker perhaps). Does noradrenaline desensitization mean you are more noradrenaline type or less so?

I’m curious because I used to be adrenaline sensitive but seem to have become desensitized over the years.


Not all 1Bs will be world class explosive. A friend of mine is a 1B and he is not super explosive BUT he performs better when using the stretch reflex or trying to accelerate the weight. He is 6’4" which makes it harder to be explosive too.

But 1Bs have a natural tendency toward acceleration. Doesn’t mean they will be world class. It means that their natural strategy is to try to accelerate


I have no tested the globe so I can’t say. I don’t think it’s evenly distributed. And I think that in some countries there will be more of certain types either because of culture that favored a certain neurotype or the environment.


Absolutely. BTW 1A CAN be explosive. Some sprinters are 1A and a lot of olympic lifters are 1A. But for a 1A to be really explosive they need a bigger strength reserve. Rippetoe alluded to this (not talking about neurotypes of course) when he said that the best way to make someone who is not naturally explosive more explosive is to get them a lot stronger.

Whether you are naturally designed to be explosive or not, we all move a lighter resistance faster. When sprinting, jumping etc. the source of resistance is our body. So the stronger we become, the faster we can move our body around.

But yeah, if you need to maximize explosiveness you will benefit from some explosive work. BUT if you are not naturally built for it, it means that you cannot do as much because it will hurt your recovery more.


Again, I have not tested enough people to know and I suspect that it will be different from region to region. In some places the ratio will be similar in others it will be different. But from all the seminars I gave an clients I have, I do not notice a big difference between men and women in neurotype dominance.


That depends on many factors and how they feel about themselves.

For example. When I’m not in what I consider “great shape” I prefer to train alone and I will normally train in a hoodie. When I get in good shape I like to train when there are other people and wear a tank top.

Type 2As and 2Bs need to feel respected, admired, etc. Because they have a lower level of self-confidence they build their own self-esteem by how other perceive them, or more precisely how they think others perceive them. And that will be heavily influenced by how they are mentally and physically at the moment.

Take me for example, despite all my experience and “accomplishments” if I’m training and a guy who is more muscular than me walks into the gym, it kills my motivation. It shouldn’t, but it does. It’s not that I need to be the best, or the alpha. It’s that in my subconscious “HE” will get all the attention and admiration and I will look like nothing in comparison and will not get the admiration/respect I need to feel good about myself.

Sometimes it can be as bad as if I feel super flat and small (because I’m dieting for example) I will go train at the XPN center, which is 45 minutes from my house just so that I can train alone or with 1-2 people in the gym. If I feel jacked I will go train to a bro gym next to my house and will want to be there twice a day to get a full supply of attention.

When I got out of the hospital a few years back I bought a home gym just so that I wouldn’t have to train in a gym.



On a similar topic. When I train in a bro gym or when there are tons of people around I hate training legs. Why? Because I don’t feel jacked and pumped! In fact my upper body looks flat when training legs. I believe that this is the main reason why most “bros” don’t train legs. Most of them are type 2B, or maybe 2A.

So now I’m mostly training in a commercial gym, I hate training legs. In fact, until I get that initial upper body pump going I don’t have much motivation to train. But once I feel full and pumped I’m at risk of doing too much.

I’ll tell you a secret: this is the real reason why I’m big on Zercher squats: they make my upper body look jacked and it becomes more motivating for me to train legs in the bro gym!

Similarly when I trained at a Crossfit gym I squatted and snatched almost every day because that gets you more attention and admiration than being jacked,


Type 2 (2A and 2B) are adrenaline dominant (or dependant) meaning that they need adrenaline/noradrenaline to feel good, confident, strong, etc.

They are those who have the highest natural sensitivity to adrenaline (sensitive adrenaoreceptors). If they desensitize these receptors it becomes harder and harder for them to feel optimized. That’s the danger of using stimulants when someone is a type 2: they make you feel great and improve performance A LOT but if you use them too much they can desensitize you. And when that happens it will be harder to be social, confident, motivated, happy, etc.


Fantastic fantastic insights CT. You are definitely 2A (“I am all about performance, explosive 3-5 reps ramping up” to “best single way to make gains is hitting failure” to “whole body training daily, with pump training and high reps on double stimulation days”)!

I was definitely born 2A (people pleaser, dependent on others good perception of myself, although i don’t think my self-esteem was ever low). It was more ego driven rather than a deficiency of esteem.

But over time, as I’ve gotten older I have many more elements of 1A/1B. Think about it - young guys are naturally 2A because they haven’t found their role in society…and if they have a boss to report to and some “system” to serve and dont have their own brand/financial independence, then their very survival depends on being perceived well by others no?

So the more successful you get and the less F’s you give (correlated to how well you can survive without needing others, i.e. financial security/independence) the more you would shift towards being more “confident”, outcome dettached or 1A/1B. My training has evolved over time to mirror this shift as well.

I know for me I used to look at legs/upper body exactly like how you described -> i need some upperbody work to be pumped up and feel/look good before I even have motivation to work “non-show” muscles. This was huge for me.

However now I give way less F’s and do not need to compete against the steroid monkey or the young natural mens phsyique poser. Though I admit I don’t think I can ever just go into the gym and do leg press without at least some upperobdy calishtenics for pump and to feel good. And great comment about zercher squats lol…i do these from pins now and the abs/upper body & biceps pump makes it very attractive (and motivated to do a leg exercise).

In general though, the original thesis was to always move towards being a “performance” explosive machine -> the goal was to become 1a/1b. But it seems like that might not be something to shoot for if you happen to be 2a/2B or 3 right?

I was “taught” originally to use a 2b approach (hit failure, higher reps) to build muscle and didn’t enjoy it too much…then I found you and the low rep explosive/performance stuff (1b) and was seduced by it as the best way to train. Now I do most of my lifts from pins (1a style) as the deadlift nature feels better (contraction) and “easier” (deloading at the turnaround, easier on joints) for the past year. THe pleasures of being a 2A i guess


I am BLOWN AWAY by all of CT’s knowledge bombs and personal insight. Wow. Really great.

@Sigil out of curiosity, since we’re apparently quite similar, at least history and current neuro type, what does your training program look like at the moment??