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What you need to know:
- Neural efficiency is the key to becoming a better athlete, this is known as athletic mastery.
- Mastery requires time, intelligent programming, hard work, and dedication to consistency.
The primary goal of any athletic and strength development program should be neural efficiency. Fact of the matter is the nervous system controls and coordinates every movement and every function in your body. The nervous system thus is the regulator of strength and movement coordination. This is why ALL successful athletes have periodization implemented into their programming. Periodization is a fancy word for structured, intelligent programming to address individual needs.
Any athlete that has reached elite status in their sport has used periodization to address their needs and to ultimately promote positive, long-term adaptations from the learning of repeated actions by the nervous system. One observation that can be made of such programs is how little they seem to change or when a change is implemented, it follows a progression based on what the athlete is displaying or what they are capable of from day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month.
Programs and/or trainers that endorse 'muscle confusion', randomized daily workouts, or continual change to exercise without following proper programming will always fail to develop an efficient nervous system. Sure, for the ADD crowd and those that get bored easily, this appeals to you. Or maybe you are that person obsessed with 'fitness' and have become convinced workouts of this manner are the Holy Grail. If you are one of these people, be my guest. That's your choice. This article is specific to athletes and those that want to see consistent, sustainable results from their hard work. Not to simply have a workout entertain them.
Randomized workouts may sound interesting, even cool. The marketing placed around these workouts will spin words and science to make them appealing to the masses. Ultimately the end result to the muscle confusion trend is not allowing the athlete or individual to properly adapt to their training and achieve mastery.
How can adaptation and mastery be a bad thing when you want to improve? Want to be great?
For many, the frustration with mastery is it requires time. A lot of time. Mastery is a long-term process. This is exactly why great coaches and great athletes stress fundamentals at any level, from 7 year olds all the way up to the professional ranks. Think about it. Coaches don't just go through random drills at practice and if they do, they likely don't last long or frankly shouldn't be coaching in the first place. Fundamentals are reinforced because the better an athlete is at the fundamentals, the greater chance of success they will have when performing more complex sport skills.
Mastery is a grind. Its prerequisites are consistency and discipline. Mastery takes years to develop and this becomes a problem when the fitness industry wants to sell a 'quick fix'. And most Americans want that 'quick fix'. They want results now, not later. They don't want to put in years of work when they see programs that advertise how they can 'get ripped in 60 days' or 'get faster in 4 weeks'.
Athletes should recognize that their goals will not be solved with today's latest fitness trend. The only way to achieve mastery is through consistent, focused effort to become efficient in all fundamentals and sport specific skills. The message should be clear. At Gallagher Performance, this is something we feel strongly about and want to provide you with the information needed to make the best decisions for your goals. Mastery and efficiency are critical to the athlete.
Is your training program allowing you to develop the mastery needed to achieve your goals?