Came across an interesting read:
Most people think the only part of the body to adapt to lifting are the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. In fact, the brain also adapts to whatever stress you put on the body. It physically changes its structure and ability to deal with chemicals which directly relate to your physical activity. If you are a runner, youll get better at making and using chemicals which deal with running. Youll also develop and affinity for extremely short shorts, politics, FOX news, granola, etc.
One thing that pissed me off about IA is his insistence that the CNS fatigues? in some way. Bulls**t. People are still taught that the nervous system runs off of electrical impulses like a power cable. It doesnt. The nerve impulses (synapses) run off of chemicals (neurotransmitters). If these chemicals are not present, there is no signal between brain and muscle. The reason you can measure electrical impulses in the nervous system is because the electrical impulse is a BYPRODUCT of this chemical reaction. Its called an electrochemical reaction.
A large part of how strong we are is the ability to create and deal with a higher concentration of these neurotransmitters. The nerves develop more receptor sites to connect with them, and the glands learn to make more of the neurotransmitters themselves. Only then do you get a stronger impulse.
When you start placing demands on the brain to lift maximum weights every day, it says "oh crap I need to learn how to make and use these chemicals or hes going to kill us". So it goes through an adaptive period where it shuts down some functions and tries to upgrade?. These are the “dark times”?.
The main chemical in muscle contraction is SEROTONIN. It actually regulates how HARD the muscle contracts, which is why only the heaviest weights seem to effect our mood, the reason why people shy away from maximal lifting and cower from the imaginary symptoms of overtraining.
Serotonin just happens to be the main feel good hormone in the body. It directly effects your mood and mental outlook, your â??happinessâ? and willingness to train. Your sleep, appetite, and also effects the cardiovascular system (your heart rate increases when you are supposedly overtrained - this is why). The serotonin cycle in the brain gets screwed up when drug addicts go into withdrawl (most recreational drugs artificially influence the serotonin pathways, which is why they are so much fun). There are other neurotransmitters which get effected by this (acetylcholine for example), but serotonin is the big one.
So, when the body receives a demand to lift heavy things on a daily basis, the brain shuts down the serotonin receptors to upgrade them. The brain structure changes take a few days to a few weeks. Changes in individual nerves happen quickly, a few days at most. This is why the dark times occur. Its the adaptive period thats needed for the brain and body to get to the next higher level. Natures little joke is obviously making us feel like crap when we are actually improving.
The body is trying to get us to stop the stress so it isnt forced to remodel the whole place, but thats exactly what you want. Thats why its so important to keep pounding away through it all. You want the greatest adaptation to take place.
Guys who are afraid of this response are guys who are lifting because they like the way it makes them feel. If you do lighter workouts, this serotonin is raised, but there is no signal to adapt. You feel â??highâ?. Basically lifting weights becomes like a drug. People feel better doing light useless workouts, just like they feel better taking a hit of crack. I think this is why no one wants to try lifting the Bulgarian way. They are addicts.
You asked me about cortisol. There are no good and bad hormones. There are only hormones specific to your physical activity. Do you know why cortisol is released in weight lifting? Cortisol controls the blood pressure and concentration of blood sugar.
With short bursts of intense lifting (singles and doubles), blood sugar is not the primary fuel. Blood sugar only becomes an issue when you are doing higher reps. Cortisol is released mainly as a way to cope with these high reps, a way to shuttle more fuel (blood sugar) into the muscle tissue by using higher blood pressure. This is one reason bodybuilders have their posing trunks in a bunch over it. Cortisol is dealt with just like serotonin. The body tries to adapt to using it, and all the bodybuilders run and scream. If they stuck with it theyd go through a response much like the â??Dark times, and theyd be able to handle more high rep sets afterwards.
In this case, cortisol is specific to the activity bodybuilders, not power or olympic lifters. Keep your reps low and you never have to worry about it. (It has nothing to do with total volume, only reps in the set.)
Thats funny what you mentioned about the Bulgarians having huge adrenals. It makes sense. They adapt by getting larger and stronger just like anything else. Thats also a great argument against limiting â??geneticsâ?. Someone else would look at normal sized adrenals and say they would obviously be overloaded by stress. The Bulgarians entire organism changed in response to their lifting. Form follows function. Awesome stuff.
The adrenals dont only release cortisol, they release adrenaline as well. Adrenaline acts as one of the triggers to this adaptive period. You should go read the lecture by Ivan Abajiev here :
He explains this whole adaptive period and how it effects more than just the musculature. Go read the paragraphs which start with:
“So this is our aim when we are training athletes, that we would build up all those organs and muscles needed for a certain performance, not only the muscles, but the whole cardiovascular and other systems that support the working of the muscles in order for a better performance. The adaptive process however, does not only include all the lungs and the heart and the other organs that I mentioned.”
What do you guys think? can cns just be more a mental thing and a tradition than anything? Obviously you can’t train intense everyday, but maybe we might be overthinking about managing cns stress? If our body and mind feels good then I don’t see what’s stopping you from working with intensity.
Guys in the military go through rigorous training daily and manage to pull it off. Gymnasts train daily and have amazing strength and power and I don’t see them getting inhibited by their cns output.
So is recovery more art and personal judgement and mentality of that person than science?
Just some thoughts… I’m not trying to argue or anything but just open some perspectives and really think about what I am doing and why I am doing it in my training regime.