Updated: Jan 25
In the world of health and exercise there is something that does not get discussed often enough or at all which is a little scary considering how crucial the function is. I am talking about Neuromuscular function. Neuromuscular function refers to the way that the nervous system and the muscular system work together in the human body. The nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord which send signals to the muscles, telling them when to contract or relax. The muscular system on the other hand is made up of the muscles themselves which are responsible for moving the bones and other parts of the body. Joint pain, immobility and restriction are some of the most common things I have heard about from new clients as a personal trainer for the past 7 years. Quite often this pain causes people to reduce their pursuit of movement which in turn makes their muscles less mobile and pliable and greatly reduces strength. As we decrease our activity, we begin to distance the co-dependent relationship of our nervous system and muscles. This leads to poor coordination. Coordination in our bodies is a result of this marriage of our nervous and muscular systems.
The neuromuscular system is essential for many different activities including walking, running, lifting, and even simply standing or sitting. When the nervous system sends a signal to a muscle the muscle contracts which allows the body to move in a specific way. For example when you want to lift your arm, the brain sends a signal to the muscles in your arm, which contract and allow you to move your arm upward, which in turn allows the responsible joint to move with less restriction provided the muscle has the strength to move the joint. A complete form of training takes into account all the necessary aspects of training such as balance, strength, hypertrophy, power, agility, speed, and reaction and combines it to paint a complete picture for the complete person. At ROR Athletics we realize how important this is and work on developing this full picture in stages for each individual.
Problems with neuromuscular function can lead to a variety of different problems. For example, if the nervous system is not sending the correct signals to the muscles, this can cause weakness or even paralysis (in extreme cases most often brought about by serious injuries). On the other hand, if the muscles are not responding properly to the signals from the nervous system, this can cause problems with movement and coordination. Coordination is required in all organized sports, combat sports, power and strength sports, dance, and even in our daily activity including working out at your local big box gym.
Overall, the neuromuscular system is an essential part of the human body, and problems with this system can have a major impact on a person’s ability to move and function. By understanding how the nervous system, and muscular system work together we can design a superior training plan, and help improve the quality of life for people from all walks of life.