Why Your Central Nervous System is Important
How many times a day do you think you react without thinking about it? Touch a hot stove, pull your hand back without even thinking. Wallah! But, how were you able to make it happen so fast without any thought at all? Three words, central nervous system.
Your central nervous system is truly amazing when you think about. I like to compare it to your house’s electrical system. It’s everything covered up behind the walls that keeps everything you need necessary running efficiently.
What does the Central Nervous System Do?
A few buzz words around sports performance, and specifically in the golf world, right now are words like “fast twitch” or “muscle memory.” I call them buzz words because I feel as if they get tossed around loosely without knowing exactly what they mean.
Both of these words stem from your body’s ability to use its central nervous system as efficiently as possible.
The words “fast twitch” are simply referring to the muscle fibers that you’re made up of that get called upon when a fast action is required. For example, hitting a baseball requires an immediate action in a matter of milliseconds. Therefore, a baseball batter is very efficient at recruiting their fast twitch muscle fibers.
On the other hand is slow twitch. These fibers are most utilized in long endurance actions. Here, you have a marathon runner, who uses his slow twitch muscle fibers a lot more often than the baseball player.
Specific types of physical activity over time can cause a change in muscle fiber type. So, your marathon runner, over time, can become more slow twitch dominant. Just as the power athlete, baseball player, can develop into fast twitch dominant, over time.
“Muscle memory” simply means that over time your actions and movements adapt and make common movements or actions more efficient. Take for example, a basketball player, they can shoot 100 free throws a day for their entire career. So, by the time they step up to line in a competition, they’re almost automatic.
The words “muscle memory” don’t necessarily mean that your muscles adapt to move in a certain pattern. It just means that your body’s internal systems (sensory input and response) adapt. Your body senses something it’s encountered before, and after repeating the movement or action over and over it simply knows exactly how to perform. It know how to perform the movement most efficiently without even thinking twice.
Fast Twitch and Muscle Memory
What do these two have in common? They’re both made possible by the body’s central nervous system (CNS).
When your body’s sensory system is triggered, and a signal is sent to your brain about the CNS. From there, your brain figures the response and sends another signal down your CNS. This signal travels to your neuromuscular system which then provides a sensory response. All of this happens in a matter of microseconds.
So, your CNS controls the movement involved in response as well as the speed of that movement. For example, if you touch a hot stove, your sensory system sends the signal of the heat on your hand up the CNS to the brainstem. From there, your CNS transfers the signal to the muscles included in pulling your hand off the stove to pull it off as quick as possible.
To move your hand as fast as you possibly can off the stove, your CNS needs to be strong enough to trigger your fast twitch fibers (short, fast and powerful muscle fibers). As well as, efficient in signaling the correct muscle groups.
What Your Central Nervous System Does For The Golf Swing
How does this have anything to do with the golf swing? Again, your CNS needs to run efficient enough to activate the muscles necessary in the swing (muscle memory) as well as strong enough to tap into your fast twitch muscle fibers to accelerate the club as fast as possible.
How to Train Your Central Nervous System for the Golf Swing
Central nervous system training can be like a cheat code to swinging faster, if done correctly. By that, I mean 10 box jumps followed by 10 rotational throws with less than 60 seconds rest between is not correct CNS training.
To train your CNS to be most efficient and effective and adapt to a faster swing speed, you need maximum intensity or effort to be given on a specific exercise that correlates to the golf swing. That then needs to be followed by a minimum of two minutes rest. For example, 5 squat jumps at maximum effort and maximum height followed by a minimum of two minutes rest will rev up your CNS.
This works because your CNS is triggered to fire your fast twitch muscle fibers to allow you to jump as high as possible for a low volume of reps (5). Also, vertical thrust is the highest contributing force in the golf swing, so your CNS is adapting to firing the muscles involved in creating vertical force and that adapting will transfer over to your swing.
Schedule a free call today to see what types of exercises you can be doing to train your central nervous system.