Neuromuscular Training for Your Brain Too

Neuromuscular, cognitive, and emotional challenges in the gym? That may sound way too complicated, but it’s another advantage of a good fitness coach. We know how to develop programs with exercises and movements that target both neuromuscular and cognitive/emotional areas.

Neuromuscular exercises focus on reaction times, quick decision-making, quick responses to commands, complexity, coordination, accuracy, novelty (new movements), and much more. Of course, these are all challenges that are nearly impossible to do on your own.

These brain-body exercise challenges are particularly effective because the brain controls all movement. First, your brain takes in environmental stimuli through the eyes, ears, vestibular system (inner ear), proprioceptors (joint angles, muscle forces, etc.), and somatosensory receptors (e.g., feeling the ground beneath your feet). All this sensory information is then processed, and, ultimately, it generates an appropriate movement strategy for your whole body.

The more complex the movement pattern, the more the brain is stimulated, the “harder” it must work, and the greater the benefits. We mix all these strategies into our training programs in order to simultaneously work out your body AND your brain. A lot of times you won’t even know it is happening. Pretty cool, huh?

A good workout will include challenging the brain-body exercises. For instance, in our training programs, we might have you complete an obstacle course with five to seven activities that each use different equipment (e.g., medicine ball squats with an overhead squat, balance bar swings, side lunges on a soft surface).

The variety of exercises (and remembering how many repetitions of each!) challenges cognitive as well as physical abilities.

One of the main reasons why it’s an advantage to work out in a small group instead of doing it alone is that we can motivate, encourage, and support one another. It makes exercise fun. Yes, fun! You may not believe that exercise can be fun, but just ask our clients. They will tell you how enjoyable it can be and how quickly the time goes by when you are doing these types of brain-body exercises.