T Nation

TIP: A Simple Way to Minimize Excessive CNS Stress


#1

I took this one from sprinters.

If you are doing work that can be potentially taxing on the CNS (heavy lifting, explosive work, going to failure) one way of reducing excessive CNS demands is to focus on keep everything from the neck up as relaxed as possible. This will prevents an excessive CNS “jolt” that can indeed boost your performance, but also make you hit the wall really fast.

Tensing the face, clenching your jaw, having your neck look ropey CAN increase force production and is a tool that can be used when competing or maxing out. But it comes at a cost and that cost is that your nervous system will take a lot longer to recover and you might even end up suffering from “workout hangover” the next day.

If you focus on keeping everything from the neck up relaxed during training (training is not testing and it’s not competing) you will be able to recover much more easily from your workouts and will be able to train more often.


#2

Thank you for the tip CT, I think I can use this tip in the layer system when doing the last two layers. On the same note, Do you have any experience with meditation to expedite CNS recovery? In today’s article Chad Waterbury had talked about the meditation to relieve CNS stress which got me somewhat curious.


#3

Can’t say that I have. I don’t doubt of the potential benefits of meditation but in my own case it would actually drive me nuts :slight_smile:

I do relax and do a lot of inner thinking when I walk my dogs though :slight_smile:


#4

You’re absolutely correct CT! Two years ago I had major jaw surgery to correct sleep apnea. The surgeon wanted me to not train for 3 months. When I asked why he just said “I don’t want you to clinch your jaw!”. I understood why, clenching would really screw up the bone grafts. So I learned to train with my mouth open. Try tensing any of your face or neck with your mouth open. You can do it a little but nothing to the degree you can when you can grit your teeth hard.

I did have an initial drop off in my poundages but soon they came right back and went on up which I contributed to the less “strain”.

CT, you now explained why. Thanks for the tip.


#5

In the name of “willing to do everything for better performance even it it makes me look or feel silly” I really think you would benefit from meditation/mindfulness practices. Especially if you’re a stimulus addict.
I think there is EVEN MORE benefit for someone who would be frustrated by doing it. In my opinion it means you need to practice that skill (and yes, it’s a skill that can be learned, very fast even).

The best, most effective and least frustrating way is to listen to a “mindfulness track”. It will guide your attention - and you can choose whichever one you like (maybe you prefer one speaker-voice over the other, a “body-scan” over some other etc.). You can do this wherever. On the floor lying down or sitting, sitting in a chair, in your car (not driving), in your bed, in the corner of the gym on a mat, wherever really. You don’t have to sit in a lotus-position. We are way beyond that now.

Many people think it’s a new frontier, and in 10 years from now many more people will use meditation tools (just like many more people are using “fitness” tools compared to 10 or 20 years ago) because the amount of research showing how beneficial it is, especially in our plugged in modern world, is just staggering.

So go dig up any old track that works for you and 10-15 minutes everyday is all you need. I swear swear swear that you will be much better off with it. Especially since you are already ‘battling’ these issues.