Your nervous system ultimately has one job… that is to keep you alive.
And it’s constantly evaluating whether the current “state” of your body gives it a good chance of survival or not (like if you had to run for your life from a saber-tooth tiger…).
When it perceives a “threat” to its survival it will temporarily alter your flexibility, strength and power as necessary to protect itself. Sometimes that means give you super-human strength so you can lift the car off your baby… Other times (and most often) it means stiffen up your muscles and decrease strength/power and adjust posture so you’re vital organs are protected and you don’t hurt a joint that may not be totally healthy.
This process of control based on “threat” to your survival is constantly at work in your nervous system. And it goes both ways. If your nervous system is worried about survival, let’s say because its not receiving good information from a high priority joint like your ankle, then it’ll stiffen up and decrease strength. Conversely, if it’s more comfortable about predicting your survival, and hence, less threatened, then it will take off the “brakes” and allow more strength, power, flexibility and more upright (less protected) posture.
You can see an instant example of this in the video below… by simply “telling” Cory’s nervous system that a couple very important joints are “ok” it instantly releases tension in the muscles and allows more flexibility.
Once you understand this concept of “threat / no-threat” in your nervous system you can imagine what might happen after a REALLY hard training session that made a couple of your joints sore or just generally fatigued you to a point of “threat”… your nervous system will put the “brakes” on to make sure you don’t injure yourself further. Joint integrity is a very high priority of your brain!!
Now, with the “brakes” on, you’ll experience stiffness, decreased strength and power, altered body posture, and overall decreased efficiency of movement because of this built-in survival response. And as you might guess, if you train hard often (like many of us do), this tightness and overall “threatened” state of your body, day-in and day-out, will create long term postural adaptations that lead to more injury, pain and dysfunction…
So, it’s vital that you keep your nervous system in a “non-threatened” state. And a good way to do that is by “telling” it your joints are “ok” through some very simple joint mobility drills (like in the video).
Give it a try for yourself: stand up from the computer, check your forward bend, then do one of the two drills demonstrated in the video above, then recheck your forward bend again. If you got better, your nervous system liked these drills… And you can bet if your forward bend improved so did your strength, power, quickness, posture, agility, balance, peripheral vision, and many other movement qualities that your nervous system is in control of!
Try both drills. Which one was better for you? Not all drills work every body (initially)…
Learn how to optimize your nervous system for optimal performance and less pain here at Athlon. No matter what your age or what your goals are, from elite performance to just plain survival, Athlon can make you a better more efficient human being and hence more likely to accomplish your physical goals! By the way, Cory in the video above is doing only two of the 154 drills in our toolbox at Athlon to ensure you’re always moving optimally!
Learn what drills are right for you by taking advantage of your free fitness and nutrition consultation. We’ll review your goals in detail and discuss the easiest, best path to improved fitness and performance. Learn more now by clicking the link below: