Neuroendocrine refers to interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system. Muscle growth and strength increase largely depend on the neuroendocrine adaptations and acute responses evoked during exercise.
Unfortunately, one of the critical elements missing from isolation ‘weight-training’ movements (ex. bicep curls) is they invoke essentially no Neuroendocrine response.
A vital hormonal response to athletic development is a substantial testosterone increase, along with an insulin-like growth factor and human growth hormone. Exercising with protocols known to elevate these hormones eerily mimics the hormonal changes sought in exogenous hormonal therapy (steroid use). Training Programs that induce a high neuroendocrine response produce top tier athletes. Increased muscle mass and bone density are just two of many adaptive responses to exercises capable of producing a significant Neuro. response.
A starting point recommended for Weightlifting would be mastering Powerlifting
(the sport of three lifts: the Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift), to be followed later by the more dynamic Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. Being not only demanding of precision and athleticism, but these multi-joint compounds also elicit a profound Neuroendocrine response, emphasizing constant engagement of midline, working core to extremities.
Simply put, in order to maximize neuroendocrine response, focus on working large muscle groups before smaller muscle groups. Use higher volume and moderate to high intensity with shorter rest intervals between sets.
If you are not an avid Olympic Weightlifter, activate a higher Neuro response by programming your smaller muscle groups with your largest muscle groups. (ex. Superset your bicep curls with deadlifts, your tricep extensions with bench press, shoulder laterals with squats). Recruit an even larger response by incorporating Compound movements (ex. a front squat with an overhead press, a sumo deadlift with an upright row, a back squat with a wide grip behind the neck Press).
Maximize your natural growth hormone by recruiting more muscle fibers, more quickly, and more intensely.
I had the wonderful opportunity this week to guest coach at ASD CrossFit, Pordenone, Italy. This Box has been open for roughly eight months and is full of amazing athletes. With most being relatively new to CrossFit, I was unsure what to expect. For their skill/strength training, we programmed a Snatch Progression to a 1RM followed with an EMOM. These athletes are coached by an amazing Olympic Lifting coach and it shows!! Their pulls and progressions were extremely precise and their mobility was exceptional!
I programmed for them a 20:00 AMRAP
20 Wall Balls (16#/20#)
20 Box Jump overs (20″/24″)
10 Clean & Jerks (85#/105#)
Not only were their movements on point, but they WOW’d me with their endurance!
The determination, drive, and discipline of the athletes are absolutely inspiring! They were such a welcoming group of people, that even with our language barrier, put us at complete ease. I recommend this Crossfit box to anyone traveling through or a local athlete searching for a box..give this one a try!
To show their gratitude, they invited me out to dinner which was an absolute blast- along with the best Tiramisu I have ever tasted!
Having this experience just justifies yet again to me the comradery among CrossFit and its athletes.
Although this race was nowhere near my toughest race to date, it was by far the muddiest! Dangerously muddy! I received a much slower time than I would have liked, but finishing the race without a broken ankle or sprain was most important! My legs kept telling my brain to run fast, you can handle it, but I knew better. I busted my ass so many times in this race, on my own, and other times due to the person ahead causing a pile-up. As with any race though, it was a blast! I will say that the last two obstacles of the race were a test of determination. The first of the two was an incline belly crawl under barbed wire, lined with shards of rock- just perfect for slicing and dicing the knees and elbows! The last obstacle, an inclined wall with a slippery rope that may have well been lubed with oil. It was so caked with wet mud, that when going for my last pull, exerting almost all of my energy, I lost control. I slid all the way back to the starting position. After telling myself to breathe and move (my favorite thing to yell at my CF athletes in class) I ran over to the side of the obstacle where laid bundles of hay-like grass. Taking some in my palms with hopes of creating somewhat of a grip, I was back up to the top!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Flax Meal
- 1 Pinch Sea Salt
- ½ tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter, Cold
- 1 Large Egg
- In a small bowl, sift together coconut flour, flaxseed meal, sea salt, and baking powder.
- To the flour, add ghee or butter and with a fork mash together until small crumbles form.
- In a separate bowl, scramble egg and then add the mixture to crumbles.
- With a spoon mix together and spoon into greased 4-inch pan
- Options: (1) Microwave for 55-60 seconds OR (2) Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Cool on rack.
This is a single-serving recipe, feel free to adjust accordingly. I have made these both in the oven as well as the microwave, I prefer the microwave version as it fluffs up more. Whereas, the oven-baked version, while still good, does not rise as much.
The law of overload is one of the first principles in exercise physiology, and no resistance program is successful without it. The key to building massive, powerful muscles is to increase the training weights you use. Overload must be approached using sound scientific training and common sense. Sure, you can do dumbbell curls while you lunge, but don’t con yourself into believing you are providing any sort of serious overload to your legs. Want real overload? Hit the squat rack. When it comes to making gains and adding size, the first and most obvious way is adding more weight. New Trainees should take advantage of this method. Increased increments of weight for new lifters should progress steadily over a period of two to three months before hitting a plateau. When plateaus are reached, periods of increased loading come into play. Half-pound plates added to a bench press weekly over the course of a year would equal a 52-pound gain, one pound plates would equal a 104-pound gain, so realize that micro-progression is progression to long term success.
This pace is undoubtedly impossible to maintain forever, so this is when you would increase the volume. Volume is increased by performing more sets with weight over 65 percent of a one-rep max. Anything less than is not heavy enough to have a real training effect. There are a number of ways to add volume to your routine. Try adding an extra set to your workout. If you benched 4 sets of 5 with 200 pounds last time, you performed 4000 pounds of volume- if you do 5 sets next week, that becomes 5000 pounds of volume. One extra set has a profound effect on total volume. As long as you don’t sacrifice intensity in the process, you’ll find that higher volume is superior for increasing strength and hypertrophy.
Another alternative in making progression is to take a full range of motion exercise and turn it into an extended range of motion. The range of motion can have a huge impact on a movement. Examples of this would be deficit Deadlifts or snatch grip Deadlifts. A deficit Deadlift is performed while standing on a plate a couple of inches off the ground to increase the range of motion. While performing this movement with only 80 percent of a one-rep max, it is still more difficult than a regular Deadlift at the same weight. With snatch grip Deadlifts, by adding the extended grip, causes an overload in the movement, thus adding an extra level of difficulty.
Another way to catalyze hypertrophy- incorporate prolonged negatives into each repetition to increase muscular tension, while using explosive movements through the beginning of the movement. An example of this would be in curling a Barbell. In the initial movement of the curl, apply explosive force, while in the negative movement, slowly release back to starting position. This is known as the principle of retro-gravity. To add even more intensity, try doing the same amount of work with decreased rest intervals. More volume in less time will add gains to your strength once you have reached a maximum weight. In order to surpass a plateau, hypertrophy must be maintained, therefore shorter rest times are not an excuse for lighter weight!
For powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and anyone else that competes in specified lifts, the core lifts have to remain at the nucleus of the program- But for Bodybuilders or anyone just looking for a shredded set of wheels; front squats, leg extensions, Olympic pause squats, leg press, and many other variations can be incorporated for alternate workouts.
Finally for increased hypertrophy, simply increase your intensity- train more often. Training in squats twice a week overloads your system more than squatting once a week.
Building strength and mastering control of your body is the basis for building proficient lifting techniques. Once you are able to perform a task with greater ability, you can then do so at a faster pace. This defines power. Power can be referred to as strength speed.
Certain lifts, movements, and drills when performed at a faster rate, produce power output, but none of this can be done without first having built a foundation of the ability to perform even the most basic tasks. In explanation, a novice needs to master the ability to properly perform movements such as Deadlifts, Squats, and Overhead Press, before trying to grab a bar to perform Clean and Jerks.
Everyone’s Deadlift is much higher than his or her power clean. What you really need is explosive strength. This shows most obviously when your leg extension goes beyond ninety degrees. The faster you go from ninety to 180 degrees, the more you are going to power clean. Those fibers will have to keep firing all through that portion of the lift…Power.
‘Making the plates rattle’ A sure-fire way to know that your power is explosive all the way through, to the top of the lift along with significant speed. This is a training tool I use to ensure powerful force in driving upward.
Conclusively- Key mechanism of speed, power, and strength, working in complete correlation are necessary components for successful Olympic Lifts.
If your workout consists of heavy lifting and your pre-workout consists of a 200M run and a couple of air squats, it may be time to adjust your regimen.
As every Weightlifter understands, doing full snatches, clean and jerks, or any heavy lift, requires a high degree of flexibility in every part of the body. All the major muscle groups and corresponding attachments are involved in competitive lifts: shoulder girdle, back, and hips, and legs. A lack of flexibility in the shoulders will prevent the lifter from locking out snatches and jerks. It may also keep one from racking a weight on his shoulders while cleaning. Tightness in the hips will have an adverse effect on getting into a low position for snatches and cleans. Not only preventing the correct execution of a lift, but lack of flexibility in any heavy lift also makes one more susceptible to injury.
Because every part of the body is activated during the execution of Olympic lifts, every joint and muscle group needs to be given some attention before doing any heavy lifting. This is where there is confusion between the two disciplines needed to enhance flexibility: warming up and stretching. While closely related, they are not the same. Merely stretching a muscle or joint isn’t sufficient preparation for a heavy session in the weight room that will be filled with complicated athletic movements.
Warming up and stretching are both vital disciplines for all heavy lifters. Everyone knows a warm muscle is more elastic and reacts better to movement than a cold one, and it’s only common sense to know supple muscles are less prone to injury than tight ones.
In the gym, we like to take you through many variations of warm-ups and movements to prepare you for your workout. You may be wondering if there is a vital importance in completing a warm-up and movements? The answer you will get from all the trainers in the gym is, “ABSOLUTELY!” But that doesn’t always answer the question of why it is important that we spend the time to get you properly warmed up and mobilized. After various warm-ups consisting of inch worms, rowing, running, and other movements in order to get your body temperature rising, we like to spend time mobilizing and practicing movements that are associated with the workload for the workout. This type of movement is called Dynamic Stretching. Once you are properly warmed up, we take you through a series of movements that consist of air squats, leg kicks, lunges, and jump squats. This series of dynamic movements would be great for setting you up to do a strength series of squats, deadlifts, or split-squats. Dynamic stretching is an active movement of muscle that brings forth a stretch but is not held in the end position. This is very critical and important. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and set you up for the current workload. Why is this critical and important? Here is science. Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated. When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work. Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body. Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with the energy needed to do work. Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion. Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.
In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a heavier load. Another point to remember here is that dynamic movements are very sport and movement specific. We will change the types of movements you do in the warm-up dependent upon what the workload is going to be for that day. Additionally, your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Have you ever done air squats at the beginning of a warm-up and felt like it was terrible, but after doing a proper warm-up and working on the movements which mimic and simulate squatting, your actual squat will then feel more natural and will flow much smoother.
Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to help improve stamina and conditioning. One method to make jumping rope more challenging is to do “Double Unders,” which means you swing the jump rope two times underneath your feet with only one jump.
Double Unders have gained popularity more recently as an exercise used in CrossFit workouts and competitions. The goal is to start doing double-unders consecutively, which is a seriously intense workout.
Double Unders Tip #1: Jump High & Jump Slow
Double under requires that you jump much higher than a normal jump rope revolution. In fact, you can jump just an inch off the ground during your normal jump rope routine, but a double under requires you to jump much higher. Jumping higher and slower helps create enough time for you to swing the jump rope 2 times underneath your feet as opposed to just once. As you get better and more efficient at doing double-unders, you won’t have to jump as high.
Double Unders Tip #2: Use Your Wrists
Probably the #1 most common jump rope mistake is when beginners flail their arms as opposed to turning their wrists in order to create momentum for the jump rope to start revolving. This is similar to a swimmer being very inefficient in the water: an inefficient swimmer gets tired very fast and doesn’t go fast. With jumping rope, you want you’re skipping to be as efficient as possible so you don’t waste too much energy. If you do, you won’t last for much more than 30 seconds, or a minute. Jumping rope is all in the wrists, which should be roughly at your waist.
Double Unders Tip #3: Keep Your Elbows In
Another related mistake beginners make is not only using too much arms but extending the arms and elbows to far away from the body. This makes the jump rope shorter so revolutions become more difficult and it’s harder to hold your arms extended from your body. Instead, keep your elbows close to your sides.
Double Unders Tip #4: Keep Your Torso Upright
Because double-unders require that you generate significant speed to spin the rope around 2x with one jump, beginners will often bend the torso forward in an effort to shorten the distance the jump rope needs to cover. Instead, remain upright with only a slight bend in your torso as in the photo below.
Double Unders Tip #5: Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. If you are just starting out with double-unders, I recommend the following progression:
Start jumping rope normally, then on the 5th rep do a double under, then stop
Repeat until you consistently complete a double under
Next, do 100 jump rope reps, with every 10th jump being a double under
Repeat until you can do this without stopping
Start jumping rope normally then on the 5th rep do a double under, and on the 6th rep do a double under
Repeat until you can do this easily
Now start doing consecutive double-unders with as many as you can in a row!