Neural Drive: How Strength Training Works

Today, I will be explaining to you what is
neural drive, and how neural drive contribute to an increase in our muscle strength. Muscle
strength is determined by 2 factors, neural drive and muscle hypertrophy. In the early
stage, an increase in our muscle strength is primarily contributed to an enhanced neural
drive. In fact, this increase in our neural drive can lead to rapid increase in our muscle
strength in the first 2 weeks of a strengthening program. Neural drive is the body’s ability to recruit and activate muscles through this connection
from the brain all the way down to our muscle. Since human movement is controlled by our
nervous system, a functional and enhanced neural drive will enable us to speed up the recruitment
and activation of muscles during movement. An important role of a physiotherapist, is
to be able to identify the underlying cause of muscle weakness. One strong indication
of reduced neural drive is brain damage, which is commonly observed in neurological conditions. If neural drive is the problem, then the general guideline to rehab is engagement
in functional movement. If the patient’s goal is to get back to playing piano, we could
start by doing finger taping on the table using our index finger only. To progress
this exercise, we can perform finger taping involving all 5 fingers which more mimics
the movements involved in playing the piano. Another key to enhance neural drive, is we
need to engage in functional movement at a high frequency and high volume. This can mean
practising finger taping 5 times a day, and 500 repetitions at a time. By doing this,
we can enhance our neural drive and the connection between our brain and muscle. If you liked
the content from today’s video, feel free to subscribe. Thank you for watching, I will
see you next time.

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