T Nation

Westside and CNS burnout


Hi guys:

I know that cycling max-effort movements every 1-3 weeks helps prevent CNS burn-out?

How is this possible? I thought the body only understands that you are straining and going heavy, not which movement you are doing.

Is it because when you switch movements, you are not in groove the first time using it, thus forcing you to use less weight?




The order you fire the nervous system is what is essential to the CNS. The way the CNS fires during a bench press is different from the way muscles/tendons/supporting muscles are fired when doing say, incline dumbell presses. Therefore, while some of the same nerves are used, many are getting a new stimulis or are firing differently. Changing ME lifts helps to keep the CNS guessing and reducing the stress on the same pathway time and time again. Hope that helped.



I've wondered about this as well. Some WS guys still take time off or spend a week doing higher rep work in place of ME, but my guess is that maybe switching movements changes the stress because the body has to learn again, kinda like what you are saying about groove....


Cool haktOne. That seems to make sense. It would seem then that the less intensity the less frequetly you have to change exercises, like the changing bodybuilding/assistance moves evey 6 weeks.

What is the relation of this to the idea/practice that performing a certain movement over and over makes one better at it through more efficient use of neural pathways? Like say bench 6 times a week, or snatching, or performing a sport movement? Kinda like Bruce Lee's one inch punch....

Also I wonder if instead of changing exercises but changing stress method if that to would work, like using the 1/6 method for a ME day or clusters wouldn't this also keep the nervous system guessing?





Much like hypertrophy and hyperplasia... there is no definitive research on how the nervous system regenerates itself. Anecdotal evidence is that the nervous system is activated differently for different tasks and by avoiding high intensity exercise using the same motor patterns one can prevent CNS burnout.


I'm not sure what you're asking in terms of it's "relation" but I will say it does make the movement more efficient as well as helping to recruit more muscle fibers. By working at 80-90% of your 1RM for many sets (10X2 or 10X3) you get alot of reps in and move a WHOLE lot of weight. At the same time, you hit failure in many more fibers forcing the muscle to recruit other fibers during later sets. The more fibers you can recruit and damage, the more mass you can attain.
As far as incorporating the 1/6 or clusters, I'd say no for the reason I stated above. You want small reps with HEAVY weight done for many sets. It's the only way to get the amount of failure you'll want to pack on the mass and gain the strength. I might think about incorporating that kind of thing into my aux exercises but not to often as you don't want to exhaust your support system for bench/squat/deadlift. Remember, WS is more about strength than shape. If you're looking to shape you need a different routine. Westside is meant to be just what it is, simple, exhausting, and a hell of a strength boost.
Just my 2 cents...



To bring what haktone said into 1 sentence: "the muscles and central nervous system adapt only to the load placed on them." (Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Science and Practice of Strength Training, pg. 100) Quoted from the man himself. Think about that and you have your answer.


I should also add even though changing ME movements often one can still get burned out and so the rep method would take the place of a ME session to recover. Im sure many people know that but some may not so I just wanted to clarify. Good luck.


no matter what you do your cns is going to get burntout it is part of heavy training...mine burns out about every 12 weeks currently mine is fried right now...the trick is being able to recognize when your fucked up and be smart in how you train during these periods...it is part of the game you wont fell great everyday...in fact you wont fell great 95% of the time...learn to curb your intensity and take it easy when you feel like shit and learn to take it up a little and get every bit you can on days you fell great...be smart on how you rotate your max effort moves and learn to deload on dynamic day is the best advice i can give..bm


What's deloading on dynamic day?


Mine goes kaplooey also at about 12 weeks straight. At that time, I could take a month off and not lose strength. at 40, I'm still trying to get the volume right.


Deloading on dynamic day is not using bands and chains. Using a lower weight. With maybe just a chain or 2. Keeping the percentage around 50%.