Move more efficiently. Increase your injury-resistance.
Ramp up to more strenuous workouts without fear holding you back. Build confidence in how you move and that your body will support you.
Experience what it feels like to not have so much chronic tension in your body. Get stronger by enhancing your nervous system’s connection to your muscles.
These are a few of the things that are possible when you become more tuned in to your body and start moving better…
What Do Intensity And Tension Have To Do
With Moving Better?
You may have a desire to do more, go harder, try a new level of strenuous workouts – but feel like you always get set back anytime you try and ramp up.
Or, you may find yourself stuck operating at your maximum output all of the time – with no clear “ease up” button in sight, and perhaps even a bit of fear that you’ll lose everything if you let off the gas (if you’re anything like how I used to be).
And, you may be someone who wants to have a better relationship with your body – hearing its signals better, feeling like you’re on the same team as it, and building your trust that it will support you for the long haul.
No matter where you come from, if you only look at exercise selection and rep schemes as the means to the end you desire, you’re going to be missing a piece of the puzzle.
Only looking at exercise selection and rep scheme without looking at the intensity and tension you use in workouts or in your daily life…
Is similar to if you learn the technicalities of using a sponge to wash a dish, but pay no attention to how hard you grip the plate in your hand, how much tension you apply from your sponge hand to your dish hand to get the grime off, or how you handle the dishes when serving food on them or putting them away.
The intensity with which you push the sponge into the plate, the grip strength you use to hold the plate, everything you do to move your body, requires neural drive.
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Neural drive: Put simply, it’s the signal that comes from your nervous system to your muscle to make it fire. It can be ramped up, ramped down, and have a more dialed in focus, depending on how you train in.
Science-speak: “Muscles receive a neural activation signal from the pool of innervating motor neurons (Heckman & Enoka, 2004). This neural signal is the sum of the spiking activities of motor neurons and is referred to as neural drive to the muscle. The neural drive to the muscle is generated by the transformation of the synaptic input to the motor neurons into output spike trains.
The fact that neural drive can be trained to be better, stronger, or more directed, seems to get overlooked frequently. You take for granted the fact that signals are coming from your nervous system to your muscles every moment of every day because it’s happening every moment of every day.
But is it happening in a way that is supporting your full capacity to move and feel your best?
Another reason training to improve your neural drive gets overlooked is because the decline of it is so slow for many folks. You don’t notice your hips becoming less and less functional, until some event brings on symptoms you just can’t ignore.
But the decline was happening for long before those symptoms came to your attention. And the decline could have been avoided.
You wouldn’t just wash dishes in a manner that causes every dish to break as you do so. If you found that you were breaking dishes as you washed them, you’d examine your methods and learn a new way to wash them so that you could achieve a better outcome with more of your dishes staying intact.
By learning to improve the control of your neural drive, by learning how to bring intention to your movements – using just the right amount of intensity and tension for the task at hand – you’re improving:
- the way that you operate your body for every task you do – from daily tasks to workouts, from seemingly simple things like how tense your jaw is while you read a book, to more complex things like learning how to do gymnastics as an adult
- your adaptability of your body to the environment you’re in – the adaptable human will succeed over the rigid one every time
- your strength – both for traditional strength gains and for mobility gains (Remember, becoming more mobile requires that your nervous system understand that you have control/strength of the range of motion you want to access)
- how stressed or at ease you feel – using too much tension and intensity can cause you to be stuck in your sympathetic nervous system, leaving you stressed, on high alert, and awash in stress chemicals, for far longer than is necessary
Right Now, Notice
As you read this article, can you begin to notice your eyes and the muscles around them?
Is the are between your eyebrows pinched? Are you squinting the muscles around your eye sockets ever so slightly?
Are you pulling your eyebrows up? Are you holding any rigid feelings around or behind your eyes?
Whatever you notice about your eyes and the muscles around them right now, can you imagine reading this article without doing whatever it is you just noticed?
If so, it’s interesting to consider why you had defaulted to using more tension than is necessary. If not, and you feel like you can’t imagine reading this article without doing whatever your eyes and their muscles were just doing, that’s also interesting to consider why you don’t have access to another option for this situation.
Having options is a vital component of feeling good and moving well – for how you move your body, how you flex your tissues, how much joint range of motion you can use, how you can organize your movement, and how much tension you hold in your tissues – both while moving and while at rest.
How To Start Moving With More Freedom:
Regulating Intensity & Tension
You can expand the amount of options you have available to you by learning to use more of the full spectrum of intensity and tension levels that are available to you as a human.
I recently led a video workshop to go more in-depth on intensity and tension, and the components that go into learning how to use them more effectively and optimally.
In the Moving With More Freedom Workshop, and accompanying #RegulateYourself Manual, I share with you the knowledge you need to understand this important aspect of being an excellent caretaker of your body…
And I guide you through several movement exercises to explore your current relationship to intensity and tension, and how you can start accessing new levels of both.
You get more out of your workouts, your life, and your Self, when you have a better relationship with your intensity and the tension you use.
Explore and train them just like you would a language you’d like to learn. Because this is a conversation you’re having with your body every day, after all. 😉
Click HERE or the picture below to check out the workshop and scoop your copy today…